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Acute Shortage Of Dentists in UK: Oral Care for Elders To Suffer A Setback

With the increasing number of aged individuals in UK, dentists are having a tough time trying to fix crowns and bridges to help preserve their dental health. The reluctance of many// such old people to compromise on dentures has resulted in an increased work pressure among members of the dental community.

However, it is believed that the existing situation will become more manageable with a reduction in demand from the younger generation regarding treatment for tooth decay and dental filling. The situation has drawn attention for more number of dentists to be trained in taking care of the aged population (gerodontology).

Generally growing old meant losing some if not all of their teeth, until some time ago. But now, the situation has changed with over 50 of the UK population that consists of elders above 85 years showing an increased liking to retain at least few of their natural teeth.

Several recommendations have been put forward to face the crisis. Older have been asked to visit their dentists for a detailed discussion with respect to long-term dental care. In addition, people working in care homes such as community nurses and pharmacists should be trained to offer advice to older people to look after their teeth.

Appropriate measures should also be taken to identify old people with increased risk of developing dental decay at the earliest so that timely treatment can be instituted. The importance of healthy eating habits, routine dental check-up and oral health should be stressed.

"It is well recognized that a healthy dentition contributes to helping individuals maintain better general health. It is important that older people receive support in maintaining a healthy dentition as this impacts heavily on their lifestyle, general health and self-esteem", said Dr Janice Fiske, a consultant at King's College London Dental Institute.

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