Dr. Naseem Ashraf

What happens when we grow old? Obviously, aging brings too many problems to our life and most of them are associated with our mouth. As we grow older, our teeth begin to decay and with time we lose most of them. The experts suggest that older adults need more dental care or the Geriatric dentistry.

For countries like India, the Geriatric Dentistry needs to be popularized for many reasons. The first one, the overall population of India is aging at a fast pace.

Experts say that a risk factor for general health problems in the elderly population are more and their poor oral health can lead to so many problems. They need specialized dental care, which we refer as Geriatric Dentistry. The older adults, or the people who have crossed the age of 60 years, are more susceptible to oral conditions. They are prone to the diseases which are the result of an increase in chronic conditions and physical/mental disabilities.

What is Geriatric Dentistry?

The Geriatric Dentistry is the delivery of dental care to old people or the senior citizens. The Geriatric Dentistry involves diagnosis, prevention, management and treatment of dental problems which are usually associated with age related diseases. Many countries like the USA, Australia and Britain identify Geriatric Dentistry as a specialized stream of dentistry or oral care. In India, though it is in primary stages of development, but Geriatric Dentistry is becoming popular at a fast pace.

For countries like India, the Geriatric Dentistry needs to be popularized for many reasons. The first one, the overall population of India is aging at a fast pace. Secondly, the elderly people in India mostly depend on others for their financial needs, so their health issues often remain neglected. Thirdly, the experts link general health with oral health, thus aging people need more attention.

The census of 2011 suggests that there are nearly 104 million elderly persons, aged 60 years or above in India. Out of these, 53 million are females and the rest 51 million are males. Estimates suggest that the number of elderly persons will cross the 173 million mark by 2026. Despite such a huge size of elderly population, Geriatric Dentistry has remained a neglected segment of oral care in India.

Availing the Geriatric Dentistry in India

Studies suggest that timely oral or dental care can help cut the medical bills at older ages. More we ignore our oral health, the more we are prone to chronic diseases. Geriatric Dentistry is a need of time as the growing medical bills and the costs of treatments are rising day by day. The policy makers and the public health system need to respond to the Geriatric Dentistry as soon as possible.

Though, general dentists address the issue of Geriatric Dentistry, we need more and more experts in the field. For the elderly patients we can only say, take care of yourself and visit your dentist regularly. If you need Geriatric Dentistry, you can also meet our experts through an appointment at Mera Dental Clinic in Jasola, New Delhi. For more such articles on Public Dentistry and the Geriatric Dentistry, please visit our blog here.

  • Dr. Naseem Ashraf is a Delhi based Dental Surgeon. He is a profilic writer and an activist.

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