Dentistry is 'failing older patients'
Published on 11 January 2012 01:30 PM
Older patients are being short-changed by dentistry and are not being given enough priority in order to turn around the state of their oral health, a report says.
The British Dental Association (BDA) has warned that there are still issues surrounding the availability and quality of oral care for older adults, and that not enough attention is being paid to making improvements.
A BDA report, which was published in 2003, offered 21 recommendations for bettering oral healthcare for those aged 60 and over.
The new report gives a progress check on these points but finds that only six of these initial 21 recommendations have been fully met.
A dozen reform priorities have been set out in the new report, including providing free, comprehensive assessments on oral health for over-60s, improving the integration of health and social services, and establishing basic care standards, which care homes must follow.
The chair of the BDA's UK Healthcare Policy Group, Dr Robert Kinloch, said that having good oral health is just as important for older patients as it for younger ones.
'Being able to eat, communicate and socialise confidently all depend on maintaining a healthy mouth,' he said.
'This report reminds us that many older adults simply aren't receiving the oral healthcare they need. That is unacceptable.
'Although a great deal of progress has been made against the priorities highlighted by the BDA in 2003, notable challenges remain and new ones are emerging.
'This is a problem that won't go away. The BDA will be pushing hard for the 12 new priorities this report sets out to be addressed.'
Copyright Press Association 2012