25 March 2021

Ageing and oral health information for medical practitioners

In the latest article for the Australian Medical Association VicDoc magazine prepared by members of the ADAVB Oral Health Committee, medical practitioners were informed about common oral health issues experienced by older people.

Tooth decay and gum disease are two of the most common diseases experienced by elderly Australians, with 25 per cent of Australians aged 75 years and over living with untreated tooth decay, and 70 per cent with moderate to severe gum disease.

Infections and hyposalivation were also highlighted as significant oral health issues for the elderly, as well as deterioration of restorations and periodontium and ability to maintain good oral hygiene due to conditions associated with ageing. Medical practitioners can screen for oral disease risk factors and detect changes in quality of life due to oral disease impacts in their elderly patients and encourage them to seek dental care where access is possible. 

Recent support of the ADA’s proposed Seniors Dental Benefits Schedule by Aged Care Royal Commissioners helps to bring these issues to the forefront – supporting dental care and maintenance through access to subsidised dental care is crucial to help maintain quality of life in the elderly.

Further information:

Article authors:

Dr Samantha Lew and Dr James Fernando, ADAVB Oral Health Committee