Purpose: To assess the oral health-related quality of life of the Israeli elderly.
Materials and Methods: Data were collected from a subsample of those interviewed for the cross-sectional Mabat
Zahav National Health and Nutrition Survey of the Elderly, carried out in 2005 and 2006 by the Ministry of Health in
Israel. In-person interviews were conducted in the interviewees’ homes using a structured questionnaire which included
7 questions on subjective dental health status and the 14 questions of the Oral Health Impact Profile 14 (OHIP-
14). Statistical significance of continuous variables was assessed with the Student t-test; categorical variables with
normal distribution were analysed using the chi-square test and those with non-normal distribution with the Wilcoxon
Mann-Whitney two-sample test.
Results: 828 Jews and 159 Arabs from the total survey population of 1852 elderly (1536 Jews and 316 Arabs) completed the OHIP-14 questionnaire. An impact of oral health on the quality of life was reported by 16.6% of the respondents, 19.2% of females and 13.9% of males (p < 0.05). There were statistically significant differences in impact prevalence by gender, place of birth and economic status. No such differences were found by age group, population group or education. Significant statistical correlation was found between subjective assessment of general and dental health and OHIP impact prevalence, with poorer assessment correlated with increased prevalence of impact.
Conclusions: The quality of life of 17% of Israeli elderly is affected by oral health. The OHIP-14 findings emphasise the importance of including basic dental treatment (treatment of dental pain and infections) in the range of services covered by the National Health Insurance Law.