Senior care: The importance of oral health for overall health
We advocate for an interprofessional approach to geriatric oral health and existing elder care practices, drawing on our combined expertise in the dental and nursing fields. What is the role of the dental hygienist?
If there were ever a period in history to grow old, now is it. Around the world, due mainly to improved health care, people are living healthier, longer lives than ever before. This, coupled with the fact that people are having fewer children, indicates a global trend toward an aging population.
As we enter this golden era, we must give increased attention to elder care to ensure that longevity goes hand-in-hand with good health. Geriatric medicine specializes in the unique needs and conditions prevalent in older populations, such as strokes and dementia. Dentistry can also have a geriatric focus, as we can expect to see an increase in dental caries, periodontal disease, tooth loss, xerostomia, and oral cancer as our patients age.