A detailed literature review covers the relationship(s) between oral health, nutritional status and quality of life in older adults.
Effective management of oral health problems helps to prevent or reduce malnutrition / undernutrition. It plays an important role in improving quality of life in the elderly population. Regular good practice in oral health hygiene (such as regular teeth brushing / cleaning by an individual or carer) is advocated. Regular oral health risk assessments, identification and treatment of unhealthy oral conditions, and the ability to identify abnormal oral changes versus age-related changes are important aspects of effective oral health care.
Ijaopo, EO. [and] Ijaopo, R. (2018). A review of oral health in older adults: key to improving nutrition and quality of life. OBM Geriatrics. August 27th 2018, Vol.2(3), 010. [Epub ahead of print].
A more recent review also found tooth loss to be associated positively with increased risk of dementia:
Fang, WL. Jiang, MJ. [and] Gu, BB. [et al] (2018). Tooth loss as a risk factor for dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis of 21 observational studies. BMC Psychiatry. October 20th 2018; 18(1): 345.
Care Quality Commission Detects Poor Oral Healthcare in Care Homes
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found that care home residents often do not receive support to look after their dental / oral health, and lack access to dentists.
“ …it is distressing that some of the most vulnerable people in society were being failed in this way”. Charlotte Waite. The British Dental Association (BDA).
Triggle, N. (2019). Residents in care homes ‘missing out on dental care’. London: BBC Health News, June 24th 2019.