- Oral Care for the Elderly
- Oral Diseases and Conditions
- Oral Health Team Defined
- Toothache – what shall I do?
- What does a Tooth Look Like?
- Frequently Asked Questions - For the Public
- Patient Pamphlets
- Word Search Puzzles
Oral Care for the Elderly
In the context of improved levels of education and better access to health care, we find that the percentage of elderly people in South Africa has dramatically increased and consequently, while previously the majority of older people were completely edentulous, this is no longer the case, with many people retaining some or all of their teeth well into their old-age.
As people become older, they are afflicted by many general health conditions that affect not only the health of their teeth and oral tissues but also their ability to care for their teeth, dentures and oral tissues. Some of these conditions include diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Treatment of these conditions usually involves multiple drugs each having their own side effects which could compromise both the quantity and quality of saliva that is produced. As a result the elderly are at risk for the development of extensive caries (tooth decay), periodontitis (gum disease) and opportunistic infections of the oral tissues; i.e. oral thrush. This is further exacerbated by their inability to properly care for their teeth and gums due to limited manual dexterity.
Oral health care for the elderly requires a multi-fold approach:
- Teeth should be brushed twice daily with a soft toothbrush with a small head. In people with limited dexterity electric toothbrushes can be very useful. It is important to ensure that all surfaces of the tooth are cleaned and the gaps were teeth are missing are not neglected. Daily flossing is advocated for cleaning between teeth. Interdental toothbrushes and floss-sticks may be used to clean interdental spaces when individuals lack the dexterity to floss. It is essential to clean the tongue to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth using either a toothbrush or tongue scraper. It is also advised that the elderly massage the mucosa of the cheeks, palate and edentulous areas to stimulate blood flow to the tissues.
- Denture care must include daily cleansing with commercially available denture cleansers and a soft brush. Denture users are advised not to sleep with their dentures as this may cause denture stomatitis or oral thrush which may be a pre-cancerous lesion. It is important to visit the dentist and seek treatment immediately if the denture area develops whitish patches, or becomes red, raised, or has a pebble-like appearance or if you experience a burning sensation or alterations in taste. Denture users should replace their dentures every 3 years as the tissues where teeth have been lost are constantly changing resulting in dentures becoming loose.
- Elderly people must visit their dentists at least twice a year and follow through on their prescribed treatment plans to ensure optimal oral health. Periodontal screenings in the elderly are especially useful at identifying advanced periodontal disease which is common in people having chronic systemic diseases.
Oral health directly affects and influences general health and ones’ sense of well-being. It is vital to appreciate that maintaining optimal oral health is not solely the responsibility of the dentist. Individuals must maintain a good oral hygiene regimen at home and ensure that they attend their dentists regularly and follow the treatment plans prescribed by their dentists to completion to maintain optimal oral health.
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email address contact number
business VAT number
identification number (ODP rental clients)
You may choose to provide additional personal information to us, in which event you agree to provide accurate and current information, and not to impersonate or misrepresent any person or entity or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with anyone or anything.
What do we do with your data and why?The information you provide is used to fulfil your specific request and for statistical purposes only, unless you give us permission to use it in another manner, for example, to add you to one of our mailing lists.
Note that the processing of customers’ personal data is required to fulfil contractual purposes such as shipping a product and sending order status update mailers, and for legal and accounting reasons such as tax auditing. We gather this data when a customer registers as a user on our website, subscribes to a mailer, or purchases a product both in-store and online.
How long do we keep your data for?Retaining personal data depends on the purpose for which it was obtained and its nature. We shall store data for as long as the user can be considered a customer. Upon request, we will delete user information, noting the consequences of such action, for example, not receiving order status and shipping updates.
Who do we share your data with?We will ensure that all of our employees, third party service providers, divisions and partners (including their employees and third party service providers) having access to your personal information are bound by appropriate and legally binding confidentiality and non-use obligations (save as permitted herein) in relation to your personal information.
We are entitled to use or disclose your personal information if such use or disclosure is required in order to comply with any applicable law, an order of a court or legal process served on us, or to protect and defend our rights or property.
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What are my data security rights?As a customer, you have the right to request that we delete your data from our system. If you wish for us to do so, kindly email or phone as per the below details.
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How can I access, update or delete the collected data?Should your personal information change, please inform us and provide us with updates to your personal information as soon as reasonably possible to enable us to update your personal information.
Updates to our policySADA reserves the right to make changes to this policy, and any changes to this policy will be posted accordingly. All changes will apply to activities and information on a going forward, not retroactive basis.