This paper presents the results of a case study about the perceptions of oral health care, factors that influenced current oral health, and barriers to dental attention of two older adults; the study was conducted by researchers from a hospital-school of dentistry at a public university in Mexico. Two adults aged 64 and 70 years participated in this study. First, the oral health status was clinically evaluated using the Decayed/Missing/Filled/Teeth (DMFT) Index. A semi-structured interview was then conducted to learn about the perceptions of oral health care. Thematic content analysis was used to explore the data obtained using the ATLAS.ti software 7.0 version. Four main themes and their subthemes were developed. The main finding of the case study was that oral health was directly and strongly associated with the impact that it has on a participant's life, especially in the functional field of chewing. Also, the participants recognized the importance of having good oral health and see it as a necessity for living. Aspects that influenced the current status of oral health were mainly the care received during their childhood, as well as the previous dental beliefs and treatments. Finally, some of the perceived barriers to dental care treatment were lack of time, finances, and education. These findings challenge professionals to be more sensitive to past and current experiences of older adults at the time of receiving dental care. Knowing their perceptions can support health professionals to strengthen patients’ commitment to prioritizing oral health care needs.


oral health, perception, older adults, case study

Author Bio(s)

Dinorah Munira Hernández Santos is a dentist, and she holds a master´s degree in Gerontology from the Universidad de Guadalajara. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: dinorahmunira@hotmail.com

Irma Fabiola Díaz García holds a Ph.D. in Public Health, she is also a researcher professor from the Departament of Odontologic Integral Clinics and from the Master in Gerontology at the Universidad de Guadalajara. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: ifaby90@hotmail.com


The authors would like to express their gratitude and recognition to the Coordination from the Master in Gerontology from the Universidad de Guadalajara for all the support given and to the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) for the scholarship given.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.