The World Health Organisation (WHO) had made improving oral health among older people a priority. Medical developments contribute to a prolonged life expectancy, where older people live longer and so may require dental care.
With ageing, people are more vulnerable to infections and diseases, because their immune systems grow weaker. Research indicates that infection, tooth loss and oral diseases, such as periodontal disease, affect older people more and they are prone to health conditions, such as diabetes and cancer, which compromise overall and oral health.
Ageing raises the risk of progressive oral health degeneration, such as weakened dentition, denture trauma, diseases like cancer and caries, periodontal loss, and oral hygiene neglect. Impaired dexterity or mobility are reasons for their lowered oral hygiene standards and some have difficulty accessing the care they need due to living conditions.
The need for multiple medications and their side-effects, and bone resorption due to osteoporosis or weakened bone structure all contribute to poor oral health. Older people may suffer, experiencing pain in their mouths, faces and head. The elderly may not receive the nutritional balance needed for good health due to difficulty chewing and oral pain.
The British Dental Association (BDA) provides guidance on oral health for older patients to improve their quality of life. Elderly patients are provided with information on where to obtain advice, assistance and awareness about oral hygiene, denture care and diet. Dental treatment allows older people to eat meals of their choice without discomfort and allows them to communicate and interact with confidence, and smile with comfort.
Older patients are advised on teeth brushing to improve oral hygiene and denture cleaning, care and regular dental check-ups are encouraged. Older patients are advised on diet, sugar intake and lifestyle choices and the elderly have access to a dentist in London or where they are located.
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