Dentists raise concerns over a lack of dental care for care home residents
Dentists have raised concerns over a widespread lack of dental services for care home residents.
Dental professionals have issued a warning after the Care Quality Commission revealed that many care home residents don’t have access to dental treatment or the support they need to maintain good standards of oral health. Inspectors from the body have visited more than 100 homes and care facilities that provide assistance for disabled and elderly patients.
The British Dental Association (BDA) has outlined a series of alarming cases of neglect, including that of a 93-year-old blind lady, who suffered from dementia. Inspectors found that the patient had her dentures left in for so long that the gums had started to grow over them. She was subsequently taken to hospital and had to have her dentures, which had become lodged in her mouth, surgically removed. Another female patient, who had severe learning disabilities, was found to be suffering from extensive dental issues, including advanced gum disease and a tooth that had become infected and started to disintegrate, leaving behind little more than a stump.
Charlotte Waite, from the BDA, said that it was incredibly upsetting that some of the country’s most vulnerable people were being neglected and let down. To combat the problem, the BDA has called for a change in policy, which prioritises elderly dental health and encourages nursing and care staff to look out for signs of dental problems. Patients should also have access to routine dental appointments on a regular basis. Once people lose the ability to look after their teeth, they shouldn’t simply be left to suffer the consequences. They should be provided with the relevant dental care and with assistance to preserve high standards of oral hygiene.
The main issues highlighted by the recent CQC report include poor access to dental services and a lack of staff training and support.Join this Discussion