This does not bode well for the patient, as the dentist can play a key role in helping reduce pain due to decay, be proactive in reducing dental “crises” through oral health education along with diagnosing oral disease and many oral and pharyngeal cancers. A report from the Centers for Disease Control noted that than 30 percent of older adults have untreated cavities with similar figures pertaining to older individuals who have lost their teeth.
Some tips outlined by the American Dental Association to help maintain a healthy mouth as one ages include brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing regularly, using a mouth rinse with fluoride, and drinking fluoridated water instead of sugary drinks. Those who experience dry mouth are advised to share this information with a health care provider who can help to develop a plan that may include using saliva substitute, chewing sugarless gum and mints, and to stay hydrated.
If physical or cognitive limitations are impeding effective oral hygiene, share this concern with a health care professional who may recommend a referral to an occupational therapist. Please also see the links below to find a dentist who can provide any needed accommodations.
Marci Vandersluis is a licensed social worker and has a master’s degree in gerontology. She is employed as a care manager assisting older adults in the community connect with needed services. Email: email@example.com.
Medicaid Dentists Ohio:
www.medicaiddentistry.com/ohio.html (list may not be comprehensive)