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Is depressive symptomatology associated with worse oral functioning and well-being among older adults?

Kressin NR, Spiro A, Atchison KA, Kazis L, Jones JA. Is depressive symptomatology associated with worse oral functioning and well-being among older adults? Journal of public health dentistry. 2002 Dec 1; 62(1):5-12.

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OBJECTIVES: Although depression negatively affects individuals' physical functioning and well-being, its association with oral functioning and well-being has not been examined previously. The objective of this study was to examine the association between depressive symptomatology and oral quality of life. METHODS: We utilized data from two samples of older adults: community-dwelling participants who used community primary care physicians in Los Angeles (n = 1,653) and individuals who sought ambulatory care through four Department of Veterans Affairs facilities in the Boston metropolitan area (n = 212). Depressive symptomatology was measured with the CES-D scale; Oral Quality of Life was measured with the Geriatric Oral Health Assessment Instrument and the Oral Health-related Quality of Life measure. We conducted hierarchical regression analyses to examine the effects of depression on oral quality of life, controlling for self-reported oral health, age, education, income, and marital status. RESULTS: Individuals with more depressive symptoms reported worse oral quality of life, controlling for sociodemographic factors and self-reported oral health. This finding persisted across multiple samples and both sexes, and using two measures of oral quality of life. CONCLUSION: These findings further emphasize the importance of treating depression among older adults, and suggest that both dentists and physicians have a role in recognizing and referring patients for such treatment.

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