Zug SSO dentists for the treatment of the disabled and elderly (Zuger SSO-Zahnärzte für die Behandlung von Behinderten und Betagten) (PDF)
“More and more people are getting older with more and more of their own teeth.”
A healthy and balanced diet in old age is eminently important. Deficiencies in vitamins, trace elements and essential proteins can lead to depression and dementia. More than 30% of people over 65 suffer from depression.
Targeted nutritional counseling is often as important in the aging person as healthy teeth and stable dentures. Food is the sex of old age – eat with pleasure and with friends.
With age, the sense of taste decreases. The ability to chew is often reduced by missing or broken teeth and ill-fitting dentures. The motivation to eat healthy additionally slackens due to depressive mood (loneliness). Side effects of medication cause dry mouth and stomach problems.
The ability to maintain oral hygiene is limited in the elderly and disabled; gum disease (periodontitis) and caries increase. There is also a risk of more caries as a result of reduced salivary flow and increased consumption of sweets. There is also an increased incidence of fungal diseases in the oral cavity.
In the complex home care of elderly and mentally handicapped people, the care of the teeth is unfortunately often neglected.
The Swiss Dental Hygienists Association and the GABA company are jointly involved in geriatric dental care and offer a continuing education course especially for nursing staff in retirement and nursing homes. The SSO offers the “Manual of Oral Hygiene” (Handbuch der Mundhygiene) for elderly, chronically ill and disabled people.
Further information: Working group on oral health in old age AK MIA (www.ak-mia.ch)