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Background: Geriatric population is at a higher risk for developing oral mucosal lesions (OMLs), which can impede the quality of living through detrimental effects on mastication, swallowing, and speech with symptoms of burning, irritation, and pain.
Aims and objective: To determine the prevalence of OML in the geriatric population attending the Outpatient department (OPD) of a government hospital in Patna, Bihar, Eastern India.
Materials and methods: The study was conducted on patients aged 60 years and above attending the OPD in one year duration. A detailed medical and dental history was recorded along with the demographic details, clinical examination performedunder adequate artificial illumination. Diagnosis was made on the basis of clinical features of the lesion.
Results: The lesions identified were classified under several sub headings based on their etiology namely potentially malignant disorders and malignancies, lesions of infectious origin, reactive lesions, denture related lesions, immune mediated lesions, pigmented lesions and lesions related to tongue. Leukoplakia (19.04%) was the commonest OML encountered followed by atrophic tongue (16.65%), oral submucous fibrosis (14.75%), lichen planus (14.25%), smokers palate (13.16%), traumatic ulcer (11.46%). Buccal mucosa was the most affected part of the oral cavity followed by tongue and hard palate.
Conclusion: The present study showed an increased prevalence of OML in the geriatric population of Bihar, Eastern India with the most common entity being leukoplakia, a potentially malignant disorder, which is worrisome. This necessitates educating the elderly about importance of oral health and designing of suitable accessible, affordable and much needed health outreach programmes.