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 For oral health promotion, it is important that the elderly be aware of changes in their symptoms and continue monitoring them, to practice proper health habits such as oral cleaning and visiting a dentist. However it is reported that their oral health conditions become worse, since the elderly often do not visit a dentist though they are aware of symptoms.
This study aims to clarify 1. what kind of symptoms the elderly were aware of, 2.the relationship between those symptoms and oral diseases, 3. the relationship between those symptoms and oral health behaviors.

<Subjects and Methods>
Subjects consisted of 459 individuals 60 years and over who agreed to take part.
They were1) asked about oral complaints and subjective symptoms, 2) given a oral health examination (checking for decayed teeth, periodontitis and missing teeth), and 3) given a standardized interview with questionnaires about oral health behaviors.

<Results and Discussion>
1. Even though most subjects (345 individuals=75.2%) had the subjective symptom, 55.7% of them didn’t think of them as health problems.
The rate of those who had oral complaints or subjective symptoms went down with age, and the rate of those who feel dry mouth or bad breath were more frequent among females than among males.

2. Logistic regression analysis revealed that there were no relationships between the real complaint and oral diseases, however those who had subjective symptoms were at higher risk to have decayed teeth, periodontitis and missing teeth (p<0.01~p<0.05).

3. The elderly who had oral complaints or the subjective symptoms used a interdental brush or a dental floss and cleaned their tongue much more often than those who did not (p<0.05).
No relationship was observed between the subjective symptom and the visiting dentist, but the elderly who had the oral complaint showed negative responses towards the visiting a dentists (p<0.05).
Based on these findings, it may be possible to manage oral health with the subjective symptom as a start.
However, further studies would be needed to clarify the promotion of better oral health behavior.

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