Older Adults Oral Health Issues

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Prof. Iain Pretty
Professor of Public Health Dentistry
The University of Manchester



There has been much emphasis on the challenges faced by children and their parents in securing optimal oral health. Indeed, the research base for fluoride interventions is largely centered on school age children. With policies and public health groups firmly focused on this population its easy to forget the other end of the life line - the so called "elderly" where there has been little attention paid to challenges and barriers to maintaining and securing good oral health.

This gap in both research and practice is all the more poignant given the recognised demographic shift that is occurring in Western populations - a move to a decreased birth rate and an ageing population that represent a significant challenge to health care systems world wide.

In 2013 Colgate-Palmolive supported a conference in Seattle, Washington that aimed to investigate the challenges of this important group of patients and develop a care pathway to integrate evidence-based interventions to ensure that best practice was employed in the management of older adults. This article highlights some of the findings from this meeting.