The European College of Gerodontology (ECG) and the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society (EUGMS) Task & Force group on Gerodontology has developed an expert opinion paper on Geriatric Oral Health Policy Recommendations, with particular focus on frail and care dependent older people. Oral health in older adults is often largely neglected. Common oral diseases, such as caries, periodontal disease, denturerelated conditions, hyposalivation, oral precancerous conditions and cancer may lead to tooth loss, pain, local and systemic infection, impaired oral function as well as negative impact on quality of life, increased morbidity and mortality. Although the majority of oral diseases are preventable and treatable, oral problems in older adults remain largely underdiagnosed, as frail patients often refrain from routine dental care, due to a number of barriers and misconceptions. These hindrances include person-related issues, lack of professional support and/or lack of effective oral health policies. Three major areas for further action are identified: a) educational action plans for health care providers, b) health policy action plans, and c) citizens’ empowerment and involvement. A list of defined competences in geriatric oral health assessment and promotion for non-dental health care providers is suggested, as well as an oral health promotion and disease prevention protocol for care dependent older users of secondary and tertiary health care facilities. Oral health assessment should be incorporated into general health assessment with emphasis on prevention and oral care should be integrated into public health care coverage.
Kossiono, A., Muller, F., Schimmel, M., McKenna, G., & Vanobbergen, J. (2018). An Expert Opinion from the ECG and the EUGMS: European Policy Recommendations on Oral Health in Older Adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 66(3), 609-613. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.15191