The purpose of this paper is to explore how adults may be supported in maintaining their oral health and to provide dental students with better knowledge of how the oral health of community living older people can be maintained and to make recommendations.
A pilot qualitative study involving eight dental students in three workshops in a Health Centre in South West London with 17 older adults whose ages ranged from 63 to 94 years with 82 percent female and 42 percent white.
For the older people, findings confirm previous research highlighting issues around prevention, delivery of care and access. However, other issues such as the use of fluoride and safety around tooth whitening were important. There was concern about the increasing privatisation of the dental service and problems in finding a dentist. For the dental students they valued time with older people and felt that they had a better understanding of them and research.
The research was in one part of London and interviews were with only 17 older people. However, they were a mixed group in terms of age and ethnic origin.
These include the need to give older people more information and the value of simplicity e.g. through leaflets.
Good oral health is important for physical and mental health and can help social participation and wellbeing.
Yes, this is original research.
The authors are grateful to the King’s College London Smile Society for recruiting students who took part in the research. The authors would also like to thank staff at West Norwood Health and Leisure Centre, AgeUK Lambeth, the Old Library in West Norwood and various other local groups who helped facilitate recruitment of older adult participants. The authors also thank all the older adults who gave up their time to complete questionnaires and contributed to discussions at the workshops.
Tinker, A., Gallagher, J., Awojobi, T., Ahilan, A., Dahwy, A., Faryabi-Araghi, K., Hassan, V., Hills, R., Khan, P., Kwaskowski, T. and Li, G. (2018), "Improving the oral health of older people", Working with Older People, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 189-197. https://doi.org/10.1108/WWOP-06-2018-0013Download as .RIS
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