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J Dent Hyg. 2003 Spring;77(2):125-45; quiz 145-8.

Oral health and older adults.

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Division of Dental Hygiene, West Virginia University School of Dentistry, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA.


The population of individuals aged 65 and older is growing dramatically and is expected to increase 126% by 2011, compared to only a 42% rise in the population of the United States as a whole. The fastest growing segment of the older adult population is persons aged 85 and older (Figure 1). Although many members of this generation lead healthy independent lives, the challenge faced by oral health care professionals is providing care to the chronically ill and/or homebound or institutionalized older adult, particularly the oldest old and those with limited finances. Effective communication skills are essential when dealing with older adults and their families. Collaboration between medical/allied health professionals and oral health care professionals is also critical in order to accurately assess and manage the oral health needs of the aging patient. A preventive approach to oral health with sensitivity to the physical, mental, and social status of the patient is the focus of this course. Marketing strategies to alleviate common barriers to seeking oral health care among this age group are provided.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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