DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18203/2394-6040.ijcmph20185509

Geriatric oral health concerns, a dental public health narrative

Ramprasad Vasthare, Anil V. Ankola, Arron Lim Yan Ran, Prateek Mansingh

Abstract


Across the world, the segment of the elderly in populations is seen to be increasing at a rapid rate. There also exists a trend in which more teeth are retained as age increases due to effective dental public health measures like fluoridation. This inevitably places an increased need for dental healthcare among the geriatric populations. Since oral health greatly affects the systemic health of aged individuals, it is imperative for dentists and physicians to work together as a team to impart treatment to the best of one’s abilities for geriatric patients. It is therefore, necessary to first assess the oral health concerns surrounding the geriatric population from the perspective of public health dentistry. Relationship of the elderly with periodontal disease, dental caries, salivary hyposalivation and xerostomia, cognitive changes, and simultaneous usage of diverse medications was discussed. This paper reviewed the literature and then examined and discussed the various problems mentioned in depth and suggested recommendations for a plan of action. Knowledge about the specific oral health concerns and issues will help to better position us in developing strategies for providing better oral healthcare to the geriatric population in addition to the existing systemic healthcare. In the future, the elderly will make up a huge portion of the demographic visiting dentist regularly for a myriad of oral health problems. Dental health professionals therefore, must have adequate training and competency to deal with the predicament of this geriatric population. Preventive and treatment services can ensure healthy aging which will improve the quality of life.


Keywords


Geriatrics, Oral health, Elderly, Ageing, Geriatric dentistry, Gerodontology

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