About Senior Dental Care
Residents of living care facilities have specialized dental care needs. There is a strong connection between oral health and general health for this population. Bacteria from gum infections can increase the development of the plaques that cause strokes and heart attacks and breathing these bacteria is a significant risk factor in contracting pneumonia. Even if a resident has no teeth or dentures, they still need to be seen by a dentist for oral care screenings.
Oral health affects general health of everyone especially among residents of long term care facilities,:
- Many medications leave the resident more susceptible to oral bacteria and infection.
- Bacteria from gum infections can increase the development of the plaques that cause strokes and heart attacks.
- Breathing the bacteria from gum infections is a significant risk factor in contracting pneumonia. Estimates of the percentage of long term care residents with unmet dental needs range from 80% to 96% – with up to 78% having untreated tooth decay and 40% with periodontal disease. Oral cancer kills more people each year than cervical cancer and skin cancer combined. The older a person is, the more susceptible they are to oral cancer. Dental examinations can help to detect oral cancer.
- Long term care residents may have trouble communicating the source of pain, resulting in a failure to diagnose oral issues by the facility staff.