The elderly and disabled For elderly people and people with a disability, being able to look after their own oral health can often be quite challenging as they face a number of problems many people may not realise. One of the most common problem in issues with mobility which can make even simple things like brushing their teeth for two minutes twice a day challenging. There are also long-standing issues with carers. Our research shows that looking after our oral health is a deeply personal thing and many carers feel a psychological barrier when it comes to helping brush a person’s teeth, it can therefore fall down the list of priorities and health issues can quickly develop. With an impeded ability to provide themselves effective oral health routine further problems can quickly appear. Poor oral health has been proven to have close links to diabetes, heart disease, strokes and even cancer, this highlights the huge significance of good oral health. The importance of maintaining our oral health is the same for everyone, no matter our age or ability, it all comes down to three key elements: Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste. Cutting down on how often they have sugary foods and drink. Visiting the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend. Elderly people Only a couple of decades ago many people were expected to lose most of their natural teeth by the time they reached 50 years old, thankfully now this has changed, and most people expect to keep all or most of their natural teeth throughout their whole life. But this does not come without its own problems. As we age, our bone density and immune systems naturally weaken and it makes it easier for issues such as gum disease and tooth loss to develop. As highlighted the links between poor oral health and systematic disease are extensive so they importance of better oral health for life is very strong. Our aim is to ensure that every elderly person has the tools and knowledge they need to maintain their good oral health themselves. We do this by providing a vast array of accessible resources online and in print form. Our Tell Me About leaflets cover 56 different specific oral health subjects and are designed to give everybody the ability to look after their own oral health. Physical and learning disabilities There are a wide variety of difficulties which people with physical and learning disabilities face on a daily basis when it comes to looking after their oral health. This can vary from mobility problems meaning people are unable to hold or use a tooth brush effectively, or learning difficulties, such as autism, which make it difficult for people and their carers to provide effective oral health. There are also big issues regarding medications which people require which can have negative side effects on oral health. We aim to help address these issues by facilitating visits by dental professionals into special educational needs schools to provide children, carers, teachers and parents the education, skills and knowledge they need to provide effective oral health interventions. We also produce and provide a range of dental packs designed specifically for people with physical and learning disabilities, which contain the tools they need to look after their own oral health. By ensuring that we make oral heath a priority we can dramatically change the way it is viewed across the country and change the impact that it has on everyone in the future. Support us and make a difference The Oral Health Foundation's services are doing all they can to ensure everyone has the right education and tools to try and ensure we can provide everybody with the tools to look after themselves. As an entirely self-funded charity, the Oral Health Foundation relies on your generous support to continue our important mission of bringing better oral health to all. By donating you join a wide range of wonderful people and organisations who are passionate about what we believe in and work tirelessly towards.