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The proportion of individuals aged 65 and older with no natural dentition in Victoria appears to have decreased. (Photograph: FS Stock/Shutterstock)
0 Comments Jul 19, 2017 | News Asia Pacific

New figures reveal decline in denture use among Australians

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MELBOURNE, Australia: From new figures indicating a decline in denture use in Victoria, it appears that more older people are retaining their natural dentition. The data, which was released by the Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV), relates to the number of dentures provided by Victorian public dental clinics to patients aged 65 and older.

DHSV CEO Dr Deborah Cole welcomed the news that more Victorians are getting the message about the importance of oral health. Overall, there was a 21 per cent drop in denture use over the eight-year period considered. “As people get older, the need for dental care increases. Older people are keeping their teeth longer and we hope this trend will continue,” said Cole.

In an interview with Dental Tribune Online, Cole explained the underlying reasons for people keeping their natural dentition for longer: “The current cohort of older adults has benefited from substantial improvements made after the post-war boom. These improvements include community water fluoridation and use of fluoride toothpaste, advancement in dental technology and treatment methods, access to healthier diets, improved oral hygiene and more regular dental check-ups.”

Contrary to these apparent improvements in dental health, it was found that a high number of residents in Victorian nursing homes did not receive adequate oral care and dental treatment. Consequently, the DHSV is currently engaged in a programme assessing and recommending oral health practices in these homes. This highlights the need for personal oral health care support from family and carers. In order to address this need, the DHSV has developed the Oral Health Aged Care Package to support community dental agencies in engaging with residential aged care facilities.

“The Oral Health Aged Care Package was created to provide practical assistance to community dental agencies in Victoria that are looking to set up a service with residential aged care facilities in their local catchment area,” Cole explained. She added that the package will include brochures, posters, DVDs, oral health care plans and referral forms to provide education sessions to the staff at such facilities.

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