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Oral Health a Matter of Life and Death for Seniors
Date:8/30/2007

California's Dental Hygienists Voice Concern Over Health & Safety of Seniors in Nursing Homes

GLENDALE, Calif., Aug. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Citing a California nursing home death linked to an untreated oral infection, the statewide organization representing dental hygienists today called for greater focus on the oral health of seniors residing in nursing and convalescent homes.

"Oral health is not a cosmetic issue -- it can be a matter of life and death, especially for seniors," said Jean Honny, president of the California Dental Hygienists' Association (CDHA), the professional organization representing the state's dental hygienists.

Honny pointed to recent media coverage of a 76-year-old woman who died earlier this year at a Northern California nursing home that state health officials said neglected the woman's dental hygiene. The patient developed an oral infection that lead directly to her death.

"Such tragedies can be avoided if the advocates, health care professionals and family members better understand the importance of oral health," she said. "September is Healthy Aging Month and a perfect time to promote sound oral health for our elderly population."

CDHA offered the following tips to make sure seniors receive the care they need:

-- Make sure the patient receives a full oral inspection during the

intake process

-- Realize that even a senior with dentures needs dental care and check

ups. Dentures must fit properly in order to prevent pain and the

possibility of infection

-- Nursing home patients should have a minimum of one oral exam per

year

-- Family members should investigate how their loved ones can

conveniently be transported to a dental office if necessary

"There is a misconception that loss of teeth is inevitable and that dentures take all dental care issues off the table," said Honny. "But this couldn't be further from the
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SOURCE California Dental Hygienists' Association
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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