Why is dental care important in the elderly?

Dental care is important for everyone, even if your loved ones have few teeth remaining, or no natural teeth left.

Maintaining daily oral hygiene brings benefits to quality of life in the elderly – it increases self-esteem, enhances social integration and improves absorption of nutrients. Eating is more enjoyable with a healthy mouth, when there is no pain or infection in the teeth and gums.

Challenges in maintaining good dental care in the elderly

Some elderly persons may have fewer teeth than before, or no natural teeth left. As such, they may feel that it is not important to perform oral hygiene on a daily basis.

The elderly may have difficulties maintaining oral health because of:
• Poor eyesight
• Conditions affecting movements of the hand, for example, osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease
• Conditions affecting their mood, for example, dementia, depression
• Conditions affecting their mobility to get to the toilet basin, for example, stroke

A lack of good oral hygiene can increase the likelihood of dental diseases in the elderly.

Source: Tan Tock Seng Hospital - GP Buzz