New report highlights prevalence of dental problems in older people

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A new report has highlighted the prevalence of dental problems in older people living in the UK. Research compiled by the Faculty of Dental Surgery suggests that up to 1.8 million people aged over 65 years old are living with an acute dental health condition.

Dentists are worried that dental issues, such as decay, gum disease and oral sepsis, are having an incredibly negative impact on the health and wellbeing of older people and their quality of life.

In light of the findings, the Faculty of Dental Surgery has called for basic oral health training to be provided as standard for those who look after older people. The body also wants to see standards of oral care evaluated as part of the assessment process for institutions and facilities that provide care for older people.

The figures highlighted in the report make for worrying reading, but the situation is set to get a lot worse, with researchers worried that the number of older people affected by dental problems could rise by up to 50 percent by the year 2040.

Dean of the FDS at the Royal College of Surgeons, Professor Michael Escudier, described the statistics as “terrible” and said that “we are letting older people down”when “they need the most help.” Poor dental health can isolate older people, affect diet and nutrition and have a major effect on their quality of life. There is also evidence to suggest that oral disease can increase the risk of systemic health problems and conditions such as pneumonia and malnutrition.

The FDS is now calling for oral health to be prioritised in a bid to prevent acute dental problems and enable older people to enjoy better oral health for longer.

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