Oral Health

1634 Words 7 Pages
Introduction
In the United Kingdom there is a great elderly dependent population, although there are other countries in the EU who have a larger elderly dependent population. This segment of the population is also largely retaining most of its adult teeth and so the amount of people who are edentulous are slowly decreasing. Statistics from 1962 show that 12% of those who are over the age of 75years had adult teeth, however this figure had risen to around 20% in 1988. Moreover the number of elderly people who need essential dental treatment is also on the rise, which has led to more resources being directed towards them.
The proportion of people in the elderly dependent population with high plaques (visible) is substantially higher in comparison
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This takes into consideration the emotional, social and physical well-being aspects of an individual’s life. Most elderly people think that oral health has an impact on their quality of life. 70% of elderly people in a recent studied had advocated that oral health can have a positive or negative effect on an individual’s quality of life. Moreover just over 50% had said that it enhances their quality of life, whilst 44% said that it has a negative effect.
Oral health does not just relate to diseases inside the oral cavity, but most importantly for the elderly people is an indication of whether they can move their jaw freely so that they can perform basic tasks like eating. Therefore it is vital occlusion is maintained. Commonly, food that is hard to break down or chewy is usually abandoned by edentulous patients and that can have an effect on their psychological well-being. In a study it was reported that around 40% of people feel that oral health impacts their day to day lives. Furthermore another study shows a similar correlation, with regards social, physical and psychological well-being. It showed that around 30% of people reported that oral health well-being affects an individual’s ability to eat. As well as that it showed that 15% of people felt that oral health effects how comfortable they
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As mentioned earlier in the report, this is largely down to the fact that they may not have prioritised oral healthcare in care homes in comparison to other health issues. Care home nurses do not always have the right level of training to cope with oral health issues. Given the number of things they have to do, it is possible there may be an issue of neglect towards oral health care. In a survey conducted, it was revealed that 93% of care home nurses would benefit from further oral health education.
Another problem is that of poor oral hygiene habits. This is particularly the case in care homes as there are patients with diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis that may prevent an individual to perform basic oral hygiene tasks such as regularly brushing their teeth.
There are other factors that also need to be taken into consideration. Dentists usually find it a challenge to treat the elderly population. There are many reasons for these pattern of behaviour, one of which is that the aetiology of their condition usually multifactorial and hard to treat. Many local dentists find it more satisfying to treat younger patient and therefore the elderly population, therefore the elderly don’t always get the attention

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