Every parent is told how important it is to get their kids to brush their teeth, but a study finds that it’s the seniors – grandma and grandpa – whose teeth need the attention.
The Center for Disease Control says seniors may actually have higher rates of new tooth decay or cavities than kids. This is likely to be caused by the lack of care available to seniors; studies show more than 25 percent of seniors haven’t seen a dentist in five years.
“The problem is indeed grave. In fact, it’s an epidemic,” Shelley Lyford, the president and CEO of West Health and the Gary and Mary West Foundation, was quoted by FOX 2 Detroit. “Millions of seniors across our country are suffering and many are suffering in silence from painful tooth decay, abscesses, infections in the mouth, that have gone untreated for not years, but perhaps decades. The consequences of the lack of access of dental care for our seniors is indeed a national epidemic and it’s only growing as our senior population grows larger.”
Karen Becerra, DDS, the CEO and Dental Director of the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center says: “Well, it is very important to address it because when a person doesn’t have the opportunity to see a dentist in more than five years or, in our cases as we have seen, more than 20 or even 40 years, a simple condition turns into something that is very painful, creates a lot of infection, impacts the quality of life and the dignity a person should have and it’s important to understand that missing teeth, gum disease, periodontal disease not only have an impact on the quality of life and the mouth of a person, but also has a relationship with many chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic conditions like pulmonary disease and even stroke and some types of cancers.”.
In addition, more than 60 percent of seniors haven’t seen a dentist in the past year.
Apple Tree Dental’s mission to treat those who face barriers to care includes nursing home patients and seniors. We are working hard to help change the dire need for treatment, one patient at a time.