JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Oral mucosal lesions in a representative cross-sectional study of aging Germans.

OBJECTIVES: To determine prevalence of oral mucosal lesions in a cross-sectional study among aging Germans.

METHODS: Three specially trained dental teams examined adults (35-44 yrs, Group 1) and senior individuals (65-74 yrs, Group 2) in 90 sample points of which 60 were located in the former West and 30 in the former East part of Germany. The spectrum comprised 28 different oral lesions with subforms.

RESULTS: 655 individuals in Group 1 (35-44 yrs) and 1367 individuals in Group 2 (65-74 yrs) were studied. 33.8% (Group 1) and 33.9% (Group 2) were without any pathology of the oral mucosa. Several lesions were not recorded in both Groups like oral hairy leukoplakia and gingival hyperplasia (Group 1 and two) and xerostomia (Group 1). In Group 1 history for labial herpetic lesions (31.7%), Fordyce granules (26.6%), history for recurrent aphthous ulceration (18.3%) and lip and/or cheek biting (10.1%) were recorded. In Group 2 Fordyce granules (23.7%), history of labial herpes (20.0%), plicated tongue (19.0%) and denture stomatitis (18.3%) were those lesions most frequently recorded. Leukoplakia was seen in 1.8% (West) and 0.9% (East) respectively; men were more often affected than women (2.3% versus 0.0% P<0.05, Group 1; 2.3% versus 0.9%, Group 2. There was association between the prevalence of leukoplakia and a lower (3.3%) or higher educational level (0.5%). Denture associated lesions were seen in 18.3% (Group 2) compared to 2.5% (Group 1) (P<0.001). Other age-related lesions were lip and/or cheek biting being more prevalent in Group 1 10.1% versus 1.9% (P<0.001), plicated tongue 19.0% in Group 2 versus 3.8% in Group 1 (P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: The present study has shown prevalence to be comparable to other relevant Western European studies. Since the spectrum of oral mucosal lesions changes with age and increases with general morbidity, routine examinations of oral cavities of the aging are mandatory particularly to detect early precancerous and other mucosal lesions.

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