The world is facing significant changes to its elderly population. The proportion of older people is increasing. Around one in 12 people worldwide are now 65 and over and this is expected to double in the next 30 years.

It is estimated that by 2050, almost one in five will be over 65, equating to 1.6 billion people.

Alongside this, a greater number of older people are now keeping their own teeth for longer. Although this is positive news and a good indicator that quality of live is on the rise, this does have implications for dental provision, residential carers and home carers.

Keeping our natural teeth further into life means there is a greater need for support daily, dental treatment and restorative work, as well as more care for unrestored teeth.

Those looking after elderly patients or older family members are more likely to encounter more demands and difficulties caring for an older person’s oral health because of their reduction in mobility, as well as losses in cognitive ability.

Elderly people who are suffering with poor oral health could be in pain and discomfort and experience problems their mouth and jaw. They might also have difficulties eating and drinking which could lead to nutritional deficiencies which could have an impact on their wider health. 

It is important that all elderly people are given the support and opportunity maintain good oral health. Please ensure that you are in the best position to either help provide this care directly, or know where to go to access appropriate services.


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If you would like to ask a question about caring for the oral health of an elderly person, you can contact the Dental Helpline.

The Dental Helpline provides free advice and can be contacted via email at [email protected] or telephone on 01788 539780.

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