Oral health of particular importance to elderly, study shows
FARMINGTON, Conn., U.S.: Numerous studies have established that oral health can play a significant role in systemic health. A new review study has found that this relationship actually grows in importance with age, and that oral health vigilance is especially critical for the elderly.
Researchers from the University of Connecticut (UConn) conducted the review, which outlines how poor oral health in older adults can potentially lead to other health complications. The researchers identified several groups that could be at a higher risk of developing oral health problems, including individuals with dementia or diabetes, and those in long-term care situations.
Previously published data from the National Center for Health Statistics has indicated that the prevalence of cavities might be more than twice as high in older adults compared with younger adults. Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 68% of American adults aged 65 years or older have periodontitis.
“Your mouth is a mirror to your body,” said Dr. Sree Raghavendra, assistant professor in the Department of Craniofacial Sciences in the Division of General Dentistry at the UConn School of Dental Medicine and co-author of the review. “This article is a prime example of true interprofessional collaboration that emphasizes the importance of the entire health care team coming together to take care of all of our patients and especially our geriatric population.”
The study, titled “The prevention of infections in older adults: Oral health,” was published online on Sept. 3, 2019, in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, ahead of inclusion in an issue.