Good oral health a positive part of the ageing process
The world’s population is ageing, and experts predict that by 2050, 25% of the world’s population – 2 billion people – will be over 60 years old. A fifth of these – 400 million – will be over 80 years old. Epidemiological studies show that older persons are particularly affected by poor oral health, with negative consequences on their general health. Oral conditions such as dental caries, periodontal disease, tooth loss, dry mouth or oral cancer affect their chewing function and nutritional intake, as well as their ability to interact socially.
FDI World Dental Federation (FDI)’s Oral Health for an Ageing Population (OHAP) project was launched in 2015 to strengthen the role of the oral health community in achieving healthy longevity. The project pushes for oral health challenges to be addressed in broader disease policies and health promotion strategies for ageing populations.
FDI prioritizes raising awareness of effective strategies and actions to manage the oral health needs of older adults; details options for assessing and treating frail and dependent patients; and promotes the importance of an inter-professional team in caring for frail and dependent older adults.
Global population ageing has a direct impact on daily dental practice
FDI recently released three practical guides that highlight a series of steps that both dentists, elderly patients, and their carers can follow to make good oral health a positive part of the ageing process. The guide for dentists outlines the tools needed to assess patients and their oral health levels in the context of their dependency. The guide for patients and carers provides tailored guidelines to help older patients take care of their oral health based on their own level of dependency.
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The Oral Health for an Ageing Population project aims to improve oral disease prevention and treatment strategies for elderly patients and advocates for oral health to be included in broader health policies for ageing populations.