Elderly need oral health help

The growing numbers of older people, including the emergence of 'the oldest old' requires an increased focus in addressing their specific oral health needs according to the professional body for dentists and the dental team in the UK, the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK).

The FGDP(UK) brought together representatives from various organisations, including Age UK, The King's Fund, BUPA and the Care Quality Commission, to discuss the challenges in improving the oral health of elderly people at a seminar which took place on 17 May at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

The day was used to discuss many of the key issues including how to facilitate better oral healthcare in care home settings, the impact of degenerative diseases like dementia on self-care, and the emergence of new health challenges with the increasing numbers of centenarians in the UK.

Paul Batchelor, chair of the seminar, said: 'The seminar provoked debate for the need for new ways of thinking about oral care of the elderly in the UK. There was a genuine passion to use the day as a springboard to identify how to address the issues raised, such as the arrangements for monitoring and the regulation of oral healthcare for this section of society. The FGDP(UK) is delighted to be instrumental in raising the profile of this topic, and are determined to continue to focus on this issue going forwards.'

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