Poor dental health leading to malnutrition in the elderly

Few would believe that in our own first world nation that some people would suffer from Malnutrition.

However a recent paper published by the Faculty of Dental Surgery specifically mentions Malnutrition in one group of people. The elderly.

“Malnutrition. One of the immediate consequences of having an oral health problem is that people can find it more difficult to eat and drink. This can lead to malnutrition resulting in a wider deterioration in a person’s health. An estimated 1.3 million over-65s are malnourished and a third of older people admitted to hospital are thought to be at risk of malnutrition. Malnutrition inhibits recovery, increases frailty and can prolong the length of a hospital stays unnecessarily. ”

Oral health problems can manifest in many ways. And can develop in the older patient where previously there have been none. Gum disease leads to loose teeth and their subsequent loss, both making chewing difficult. Broken teeth and cavities can cause pain so that it is painful to eat  and drink. Ill fitting old loose dentures also cause problems when eating.

It is important to encourage our elderly friends and relatives to access regular dental care and to help them understand what they or their carers can do in order to maintain good oral health.

Prevention of problems is still key thereby giving our elderly folk the best chance of maintaining good nutrition and to keep their bodies nourished and healthy as possible.