Elderly oral cavities are more vulnerable to oral hygiene related problems and require a higher level of care. As people become more frail they are less able and less diligent with oral hygiene and problems are exacerbated by these coincident trends.
“Oral diseases and conditions can have social impacts on quality of life, including comfort, eating, pain and appearance and are related to dentate status. Older adults need to eat and talk comfortably, to feel happy in their appearance, stay pain free, maintain self esteem and to maintain standards of hygiene they have had throughout their lives” JM Chalmers – Australian Dental Journal 2003 vol 48.
Why is Elderly oral health important?
Oral health plays an important role in the health and well-being of elderly people and therefore quality of life.
Main oral diseases resulting from poor oral hygiene
Cost benefit studies in the US have demonstrated the cost of treating medical complications caused by untreated dental conditions was seven times more than the cost of providing the “medically necessary” dental care. (US Institute of Health, Office of the Actuary, 1988)
Pneumonia is prevalent in the elderly, frequently caused by inhaling pathogenic bacteria from the mouth. Those with strokes and emphysema are at high risk. Nursing home studies in Japan have demonstrated preventive oral care regimes can reduce the incidence of pneumonia.
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Oral hygiene for health & happiness
Denta-Med Whole Mouth Gel has been developed for medically compromised users who have sore, uncomfortable mouths. It soothes and cleans, maintains both hard and soft tissues of the mouth. It has a prolonged effect in the mouth and has proved efficacious assisting with many oral conditions. It restores comfort, dignity and quality of life for the person affected. It reduces bacteria in problem areas of the mouth, remineralises, moisturises and restores oral health providing multiple benefits for the user.
Ideally, teeth should be cleaned, at least, twice daily. Rinse the mouth before applying Gel with a soft toothbrush, disposable oral swab or apply to problem areas with a clean finger. DM Gel is low foaming. However aim to produce enough foam to cover all parts of the mouth. Spit out the residue. It is not recommended to rinse after application.
* Dry Mouth sufferers may wish to apply more often than twice daily. There is no recommended limit to daily application
Remove dentures. Rinse mouth. Apply Gel by rolling around the mouth with the tongue or use a disposable oral swab. Gel can be used to clean dentures. Apply directly to mouth ulcers that occur under the denture.
Irony and tragedy - A personal, heartbreaking and preventable true story
"My mother was admitted to an aged care facility 2 years ago. About the time that my career focus changed to oral hygiene and dental products. My mother had always been meticulous with her oral hygiene but having grown up in post war Queensland had never had the benefits of fluoridated water. She always avoided the luxury of desserts and sweet food.
She had had few oral problems before being admitted to the aged care facility. She had suffered from asthma and had been on Ventolin and prior technology for a long time. She now had a chronic lung problem that required frequent antibiotic treatments. I have just learned that these treatments quite often result in dry mouth. I had noticed that she was more inclined to rely on sweet meals for nutrition something she had never been interested in, previously. She complained one day that the aged care facility would give her curries despite her request not to provide her with spicy food. She had always been a food lover and I asked why she was being so picky. My new interest in oral care prompted me to ask her to show me her tongue. When she did I was shocked. Her tongue was covered with white lesions and her lower lip was spotted with what appeared to be ulcers. She was reluctant to show me the further reaches of her mouth. I had an oral hygiene product that I knew would address some of the issues but thought I would bring the condition of my mother’s mouth to the attention of the aged care facility’s head nurse.
She told me that they can’t be expected to know of any oral health problems unless the resident brings it to their attention. My mother was bedridden at the time and needed assistance to brush her teeth. This did not always happen. The nurse did not look at my mother’s mouth but did alert the Doctor. The doctor attended her 3 days later and gave her an anti-fungal solution.
If the infected lesions were outside the mouth a 3 day delay would have constituted criminal neglect. The next time I visited she reported that the anti-fungal treatment had much improved her mouth and she was eating again for some days but now the infections had returned. I immediately gave her the oral hygiene product I was marketing which gave her some relief. The nurses removed this product because it was not on her drug list. Even though it is regulated as a toothpaste.
My mother was admitted to a major private hospital for a hip replacement when next I saw her. She had been intubated in the first operation and because of some event to do with this, the staff were not giving her food or water. Her mouth again was massively infected. I know this because I spent my entire two day visit swabbing her mouth with water. My mother was extremely distressed. Not about her many other maladies but about her mouth. She was dehydrated and her mouth was inflamed. She was moved many times to tears because of the lack of moisture in her mouth. The nurses were very sympathetic but appeared to have no tools to assist. Never a heavy person, my mother’s weight, by now, was life threateningly low. At no time were the multiple oral infections diagnosed or identified.
My mother died in hospital from a lung infection a month later. I suspect because of bacteraemia from the mouth infections they seemed incapable of addressing. Ironically the private hospital involved is the first hospital to order our oral hygiene product. It is not, however, being used in the wards in which my mother was cared for. It is only used in Oncology care."