Dentists in Nursing Homes

Dentists in Nursing Homes
By: Diana Macri, RDH, BSDH, MS.Ed., AADH
Last year the New York Times reported on the epidemic of poor oral hygiene in long term care facilities (i.e. nursing homes, assisted living facilities) across the nation. Poor oral health is known by dental professionals to significantly contribute to a myriad of systemic disorders including diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and pneumonia. Use of medications often manifest oral changes and pathology in this patient population. With the decline of edentulism it is now common to see many patients over the age of 65 with full dentition which have sustained age-related changes such as attrition, abrasion, recession and loss of attachment (periodontal disease). The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors found that 30% of residents had “substantial oral debris on at least two-thirds of their teeth,” in the twenty nursing homes they surveyed.  Read More: Dentists in Nursing Homes