Ulrika Lindmark, associate professor, Jonkoping University (Sweden)
Rachel Kearney, faculty mentor
Perceived loneliness can affect people in different ways. Poor health, health-related behavior, low social support and participation may be explanatory factors. Oral health has an established relationship with quality of life and wellbeing, however loneliness is perceived to be a determinant for oral health-related quality of life. Exploring relationships between social determinants is needed when planning oral health promoting strategies and the impact of loneliness may be a crucial factor.
Cross-sectional epidemiological studies were performed for every 10th from 1973-present. A random sample of Swedish individuals was evenly distributed in the age groups 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80 years resulting in about 1,000 individuals annually. Questionnaires regarding oral and general health was included. The study is in progress where multivariate analysis will be made to explore contributory factors related to oral health-related quality of life, wellbeing and loneliness.
The purpose is to explore oral health related quality of life and loneliness. We consider reported loneliness as a proxy for reduced morale or psychological strain that may have impact on dental care and oral health. The results are useful for future oral health promotion activities increasing oral health.