Author(s): Chalmers JM
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Abstract AIM: To identify and discuss geriatric oral health issues in Australia. METHODS: A discussion of the demographic trends, oral health trends, and barriers to dental care for older Australians is presented, together with a review of Australian public and private sector geriatric dental services, geriatric dental research, and geriatric dental education. CONCLUSIONS: Key geriatric oral health issues for Australia include: edentulism is decreasing and older Australians are retaining more natural teeth; coronal and root caries are significant problems, especially as older adults become more functionally dependent, cognitively impaired, and medically compromised; the oral health status of institutionalised older Australians is poor; the onset of severe oral diseases appears to occur in many older Australians prior to their institutionalisation, when they are homebound and dependent upon carers; carers of older adults do not have access to practical education about dental care; the majority of older Australians are eligible to use public-funded dental services, but barriers limit their access to these services; few Australian public or private dental services are designed with a geriatric focus; geriatric dental education does not have a high profile in Australian dental schools; no specialty exists in Australia for geriatric dentistry, nor is there a national geriatric dentistry association.
This article was published in Int Dent J
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research