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dental health

Seniors require preventive dental health care

Tuesday, July 21   Posted in General Dentistry  by admin  Tagged #oral hygiene, #Root caries

Dental health care

Old age is itself a major risk factor for general and oral health disorders. With increasing age, one’s defences against microorganisms are weakened. Dental caries especially root surface caries prevalence increases with aging. Another common manifestation of aging is decreased salivary secretion and flow rate. Salivary flow helps in clearance of food debris and caries causing refined sugars taken in diet. When decreased salivary flow occurs, these sugars get time to produce acids responsible for dental decay. Aged individuals should consult a dental health care professional as

soon as they detect low production of saliva in their mouth. In addition to employment of methods to increase production of saliva, techniques to stimulate saliva should be employed as management of the condition.

Multiple missing or lost teeth with increasing age necessitate the provision of replacement prosthesis and majority of old people have removable partial and complete dentures in their mouth. Special care is needed for thorough cleansing and disinfection of these dentures which can become a niche for harboring harmful pathogens. Furthermore, manual dexterity of old age people is reduced and most of them are unable to perform tooth brushing and flossing meticulously. Their siblings and children need to help them in this regard. Another major issue in old age is the use of poly pharmacy and difficulty in access to dental care owing to lack of transport. These people need someone to take them to dental health care facilities. This article explains various problems faced by elderly and the need to provide them oral health care at their doorsteps.

The CDHA is also calling for preventive oral care for seniors as a priority issue. Statistics show that by 2016, nearly 25% of Canada’s population will be over age 65, with many seniors retaining most, if not all, of their natural teeth.

This means that oral health services will be required by an increasing number of seniors for many more years. Even seniors with dentures still require access to daily and professional oral care.

There are a growing number of dental hygienists who work independently in Ontario, both in fixed and mobile clinics. There are seven independent practising dental hygienists providing services in the Barrie area alone.

They provide oral hygiene services to a variety of citizens, of all ages, including residents of long term care facilities. While oral care services in LTC is mandated by the province, we know it is not routinely carried out and it has been a challenge to have dental hygienists included in the oral health teams.