Introduction: The impact of periodontal disease on oral health–related quality of life (OHRQoL) has often been investigated from a quantitative research perspective, which is based on clinical findings and an OHRQoL questionnaire. Very few studies have examined the issue from the view of qualitative research. To our knowledge, there have been no previous qualitative studies focusing the effect of periodontal disease on OHRQoL in Indonesian older people. Objectives: To explore and understand the impact of periodontal disease on the OHRQoL of older people as a subjective reflection in relation to periodontal disease experiences. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted in a sample of 31 older people with generalized chronic periodontitis. Thematic analysis was used to identify the key issues in participants’ accounts. The analysis was undertaken by 2 independent coders to ensure reliability. To achieve thematic saturation, successive interviews were undertaken until 5 sequential interviews did not bring new themes. Results: Participants reported the negative effects likely related to periodontal disease. The impacts of periodontal disease were described by these older people as affecting more than pain, physical discomfort, and physical function restrictions. Periodontal disease also affected their psychological and social aspects of daily living. In addition, this study identified themes related to individual and environmental factors that may modify and personalize periodontal disease experiences. Furthermore, this study identified a misleading belief that problems related to periodontal disease were a normal part of aging, which might influence individuals’ expectations toward oral health. Relatedly, participants frequently reported that the progression of tooth mobility to tooth loss was an inevitable part of the aging process. Conclusions: Periodontal disease negatively affected participants’ OHRQoL. It is fundamental to understand older people’s perceptions toward their periodontal disease as well as individual and environmental factors that may have an influence on their periodontal disease experiences. Knowledge Transfer Statement: This study is a reflection of Indonesian older people’s subjective periodontal disease experiences. Therefore, the present study can be used to understand older people’s perceptions, attitudes, behaviors, and experiences toward periodontal disease and how this disease may affect their quality of life. This study also highlights a widespread and misleading belief that oral problems related to periodontal disease are an inevitable part of aging in this study population.
- chronic periodontitis
- geriatric dentistry
- periodontal disease(s)/periodontitis
- qualitative research
- quality of life