The Canadian population on the whole is getting older. The ratio of those Canadians who are 65 years of age or older is somewhere in the order of 14%, reported by Statistics Canada, and this proportion is subject to increase to upwards of 20% to approximately 23 to 25% by the year 2031. With the natural life of the normal Canadian rising, it is critical that the dental profession effectively serves the needs of a varied aging populace by recognizing the unique oral health and medicinal needs of senior individuals.
The definition of Geriatric oral health is the manner of dental health care to the elderly, complete with analysis, prevention, and therapy of problems resulting from aging and added age-related disorders. Geriatric dentistry focuses on the oral wellness of elderly people, who usually have other significant medical issues and are taking multiple medicines. Furthermore, they may have certain socioeconomic and psychological troubles that demand experienced dental management. A key premise of geriatric dental is that elder adults sometimes suffer discomforts of tooth caries and gingival (gum) diseases that differ from signs or symptoms that more youthful patients experience. Dental therapies for seniors are for that reason geared to any psychological or physical restrictions they might have.
Several of the issues that may hamper seniors from receiving sufficient care might involve: meager finances, transportation considerations or can't travel, not enough awareness or education, might not have the capacity to receive certain treatments resulting from poor overall health, poor dental hygiene habits, and very few oral health care providers capable of handling seniors dental issues.
Dentists are not usually taught to cope with the various oral health concerns that elderly clients are likely to experience. They will likely have inadequate technical skills, knowledge, or the correct attitudes desirable to handle elderly individuals. Elderly people can be classified into six functional categories like good overall health, handicapped, fragile, cognitively impaired, or functionally dependent which might influence their social, interpersonal, and mental behaviours. Seniors will also have numerous pharmacological drug treatments that could place added limitations on the care they receive and cognitive troubles and physical disabilities can hinder their ability to comply with instructions and care.
Gum Disorders - Periodontitis and gingivitis are severe microbial infections in the periodontal tissues that when left untouched, may lead to the loss of teeth. Seniors who deal with increased risk of periodontal disease are persons with poor immune systems, insufficient dietary intake, inability to remove plaque, pre-existing conditions like Alzheimer's, and drinking and smoking habits. Oral health research has shown a dramatic causal relationship between periodontitis and several systemic diseases including arthritis, respiratory disease, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's, and diabetes.
Tooth Decay - The corrosion of teeth is typically brought on by acid-forming bacteria from sugar compounds that slowly eat away at the enamel of the teeth. The aspects leading to oral corrosion in seniors involve any cognitive or physical restrictions that may inhibit appropriate dental hygiene care, the utilization of medications, low levels of salivary flow, compromised immune systems, decline of the gums, and meager finances.
Poor Salivary Flow - As people age there is a natural inclination towards a decreased salivary flow which may be triggered by a pre-existing medical condition (heart disease), prescription drug side effects, menopause, salivary gland infections, dehydration, and eating conditions. Saliva has a lot of functions that are needed to maintain proper balance inside the oral cavity, thusly dropping circumstances of periodontal disease and tooth decay. Saliva plays a role in swallowing food, sanitization and lubricating of the oral cavity, buffering microbial acids, and has antimicrobial components.
Treatments geared towards limiting these three major causes of dental health disease in seniors may play a central role in improving the total wellbeing of Canada's seniors and limit the issues that may appear in the form of oral cancers, ulcers, denture stomatitis, papillary hyperplasia, and fungal infections.
Click to Download the pdf