Oral health for the elderly

Two 3rd age people with white teeth

In Switzerland, the oral health of the elderly has really deteriorated. In fact, it is estimated that more than a third of the elderly are affected by oral diseases, with serious repercussions on their daily lives. What are the consequences of poor oral health? And how can they be avoided? We take stock.

The figures bear witness to this

When it comes to the state of seniors' oral health, the figures are particularly alarming. In fact, they show that oral diseases are among the main pathologies affecting the elderly.

The proof is that over 55 % of those placed in retirement homes have lost all their teeth; over 33 % of elderly people living in their own homes have also lost all their teeth.

As seniors are often subject to cognitive problems, they find it difficult to pay attention to their bodies. So it's up to their families and professionals to keep a close eye on their oral hygiene, so that they can maintain a healthy lifestyle.

What are the health implications of tooth decay?

It's important to recognize that poor dental health can have serious consequences for the physical and mental health of an elderly person. If left unchecked, dental deterioration can lead to weight loss, weakened muscle mass, brittle bones (osteoporosis), loss of self-esteem and isolation.

A few tips to prevent oral diseases

Generally speaking, senior citizens are more likely to develop oral pathologies such as cavities, tooth loss, gingivitis, loosening of the gums, periodontitis and oral cancer. To help prevent these diseases, here are a few tips to follow:

  • Eat less sugar and adopt a healthy, balanced diet to avoid gum recession and cavities.
  • Eat fruit and vegetables regularly to prevent oral cancer
  • Stop smoking to reduce the risk of serious diseases such as oral cancer and gum recession.
  • Adopt good oral hygiene
  • Evolve in an environment conducive to oral health
  • See your dentist regularly

The truth is, dental expenses are often too expensive and discourage older people from undergoing treatment. This is why it's a good idea to take out a supplementary health insurance policy at an early age, which offers to reimburse these costs (partially or in full).

A measure to monitor the dental hygiene of EMS residents

A number of organizations are committed to training caregivers in retirement homes. This ensures that they are familiar with the various means of preventing oral infections and ensuring good dental hygiene for residents. It should be noted that the aim of this measure is to raise awareness and improve the skills of caregivers.