Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the severity of the findings of dental plaque, calculus and deepened periodontal pockets in relation to self-reported toothbrushing frequency in a group of elderly Lithuanians. The authors hypothesised that those reporting twice daily toothbrushing exhibit less severe periodontal findings. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study of 94 dentate patients aged 60 or older was conducted at two public dental offices in Lithuania. Half-mouth recordings of dental plaque, calculus and deepened periodontal pockets were expressed as mean values per subject. These indicators described the severity of periodontal findings. A selfadministered questionnaire provided information on toothbrushing frequency, age, gender and education. Statistical evaluation included chi-square test, analysis of variance and logistic regression. Results: None of the subjects were plaque-, calculus- or pocket-free. Of all, 26% reported that they brushed their teeth at least twice daily, 36% once daily and 38% less frequently. Women (P = 0.004), younger (P = 0.002) and higher educated respondents (P < 0.001) reported twice daily toothbrushing more frequently than did their counterparts. Twice daily toothbrushing was clearly associated with the least severe conditions regarding dental plaque (P = 0.03) and deepened pockets (P < 0.001), but not calculus (P = 0.39). Logistic regression models revealed higher level of education as the strongest factor odds ratio (OR = 2.7; P = 0.04) explaining the lowest scores of dental plaque. Higher frequency of toothbrushing was the strongest factor (OR = 2.1; P = 0.03) to explain the lowest scores of deepened periodontal pockets. Conclusion: Twice daily toothbrushing contributes to better periodontal health in the elderly subjects and should be encouraged at every dental appointment.
Keywords: calculus, deepened periodontal pockets, dental plaque, elderly subjects, toothbrushing frequency