Oral Hernández-Palacios et al. (2015) (25) in Mexico

Oral health is a critical component of every
individual’s general health and wellbeing. The World Health Organization
recognizes oral health as an integral part of general health and a basic human
right. Poor oral health and untreated oral diseases and conditions usually have
a significant impact on the quality of life. Oral disease is common in advanced
age. The most common oral health problems encountered by the elderly are teeth
loss, dental caries, gingivitis, peridontitis, xerostomia, oral lesions, and
dental problems (7).

Concerning demographic characteristics, the
mean age of the elderly in the present study was 69.25 ± 7.53 which is close to
the mean reported by Ibrahim et al. 
(2010) among elderly in Egypt (66.08 years). Similarly, in Brazil (69. 5
years) (Ulinski et al., 2013) (20) and in (Ibadan)
Nigeria (69.7 years) (Taiwo et al., 2012) (21). The same
point is confirmed by Dable et al. (2013) (22) in western
India who mentioned that the age range was between 60-82 years and the mean age
was 69.4 years.

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The present study revealed that the plurality
was to the women among the study sample. The higher percentages of women may
reflect that attendants of the geriatric social club were commonly women, and
reflect the higher life expectancy of women in general, and in Egypt as was
reported by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) where the life expectancy was
70.8 years for male and 76.2 years for female people (23).
The  finding  is 
in  congruence  with 
many  similar previous  studies 
such  as, Christensen et al.
(2011) (24) in Copenhagen City, Hernández-Palacios et al.
(2015) (25) in Mexico City 
, Denmark, and Jang et al.(2015)(13) in Korea.

The current study findings revealed that
slightly less than three quarters of the studied elderly were living with
family, while one-quarter of them were living alone. It might be due to that
slightly more than half of them were still married and living with their
spouses. Moreover, Middle-Eastern cultures are considered to possess more
collectivist values where societies tend to encourage interdependence and
therefore traditionally provide support and care for older people within their
families. In the same context, the results of study conducted in Brazil by Alves
da Silva et al. (2016) (26) who reported that more than half of
the elderly were still married and more than three quarters of them were living
with family     

              The
findings revealed very deficient knowledge among studied elderly before the
program. This was noticed in all the tested knowledge areas such as the changes
associated with aging, oral cancer, and the most common oral problems. The only
exception was the part related to the preventive measures, which was known by
more than one third of them. This could be explained by the specific
instructions on media (TV & Radio) regarding tooth brushing and mouth
cleanliness that still, perceived its importance was inconsistent with their
demonstrated effectiveness. In support of this, the study results demonstrated
that more than half of the studied elderly were depending on TV as
sources of their oral health knowledge.

 

In
agreement with the present study finding, a study in Egypt by Al Imam (2014)
(17) who found that very deficient knowledge among the study
subjects before the program. The author attributed this poor knowledge to the
educational level of the study sample where the majority of them were
illiterate. Similarly, another study in USA by McQuistan et al. (2015) (27)
revealed that many participants were familiar with basic dental
disease prevention and treatment; however, the most participants were
unfamiliar with concepts pertaining to periodontal disease, oral cancer, and
oral health.

 

The deficient pre-program knowledge depicted
among the elderly in the present study might be attributed to the low level of
education among some of them as well as their mental abilities, which could be
affected by the aging process. In support of this, the study results
demonstrated significantly higher scores of knowledge among those in the younger
age group, less than 70 years, those educated and female gender. Moreover, age
was negatively correlated to knowledge score, while the educational level was
positively correlated to it. The same findings were revealed in logistic
regression analysis. In congruence with this, the study of Al-Sharbatti and
Sadek (2014) (28) in Ajman, United Arab Emirates UAE
identified a significant association between elderly’s knowledge and their age
as well as educational level.

 

On contrast with these findings, a study in
Australia revealed that the total oral health knowledge score was examined in
relation to the various socio-demographic and oral health. None of these
variables yielded a statistically effect on the overall knowledge score
(Marino et al., 2015a) (29).

After implementation of the current study
educational program, there were statistically significant improvements in
elderly’s knowledge. This indicates the effectiveness of the program in leading
a positive change in their knowledge. Additionally, the educational level of
the majority of the studied elderly was high or moderate as well as the
majority of them were in 60-69 age group and these factors might play an
important role in improving their oral health knowledge. This improvement was
accompanied with little declines at the follow-up phase. This is expected given
the effect of old age on memory, especially the short-memory.

 

            Similarly,
a study in Melbourne, Australia where participants showed statistically
significant improvements in participants oral health knowledge (18.4 vs. 23.3;
p