The Oral Health Of Older

2007 Words9 Pages
4% of people over 65, and 25% of people over 85, are living in institutions. I will identify and assess factors which affect the oral health of older institutionalised patients and explore ways to target these risk factors and explore possible ways of improving the oral health in these patients. To investigate the oral care needs of elderly institutionalised patients I looked for studies on this group of patients in online journal databases. I found several enlightening studies on PubMed via the University library catalogue. I also searched using the Web of Science tool; this ranks results by the number of times they have been cited by other articles.
A 2004 study, which was conducted in several geriatric medical services in France,
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A 1991 study by Hoad‐Reddick[h] showed that simple questionnaires carried out by non-dental professionals (e.g. regular care-home staff) could highlight dental care needs. If regular dental check-ups were carried out in these institutions, or if staff looked into the oral health needs of the elderly people in these institutions, the need for preventative measures and treatment could be highlighted much sooner.
Another article that was based on the same research study focused on the causes of tooth loss in these patients[b]. The factors associated with edentulism were age, the presence of a nephropathy and poor oral hygiene. These factors, and the effects of cancer therapies, were the most important factors in predicting patients with 21 or more missing teeth. A separate 2004 study, carried out in a long-term hospital in Finland, drew very similar conclusions; oral hygiene was poor and more dental care needed to be available[c]. This Finnish study found that a quarter of the dentures worn by the participants needed to be replaced. These studies highlighted the importance of quality prostheses in edentulous and partially-dentate patients.
The dental health of an individual is related to the society in which they live. Levels of dental education; expectations of dental services; income; mobility and social support all have an effect on dental health.
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