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Module 10: Oral Health - Providing Dental Care for Older Adults in LTC

Module 10 addresses:

1) Why dental health promotes overall health and quality of life;
2) The potential benefits to nursing care delivery when daily dental care is maintained;
3) Plaque bacteria and how prevention can protect the mouth from damage caused by plaque;
4) Ways to control plaque in older persons that are functionally dependent and cognitively impaired;
5) Visible dental problems that should be reported to the nurse or other healthcare provider who might refer to the dentist.

Providing Dental Care for Older Adults in Long Term Care

Ann Slaughter, DDS, MPH
Assistant Professor
Course Director, Geriatric Dentistry
University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

This presentation is designed to educate non-dental health care providers, particularly direct care staff in the provision of mouth care for older persons residing in long-term care facilities. Dental health is important because dental disease and mouth problems are common in the nursing home and homebound population. The mouth has been called a mirror of health and disease because there you find signs of systemic diseases, microbial infections, and nutritional deficiencies.

Oral health and general health should not be thought of as being separate. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, malnutrition, stroke and pneumonia are common conditions in many of the patients you care for. Poor oral health can make these medical problems worse because of the increased bacteria in the mouth that spread to other systems of the body. And because of their compromised medical health, older adults in long term care are more at risk for infections. Good oral health is important and contributes to keeping older persons as healthy as possible. Dental health is not only related to physical health, but also oral health is related to well-being and quality of life.

Teaching Materials:

For the Instructor:

Instructor's Slides with Notes

For Participants:

Module 10: Oral Health Slides (Handouts)

Evaluation of Module

 

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