Journal of Mid-life Health Journal of Mid-life Health
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 18-24

Moral and professional responsibility of oral physician toward geriatric patient with interdisciplinary management - The time to act is now!

Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, I.D.S.T. Dental College, Kadrabad, Modinagar, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Shalu Rai
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Institute of Dental Studies and Technologies, Kadrabad, Modinagar, Uttar Pradesh - 201 201
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0976-7800.83261

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Mouth is the mirror of overall health. With advancements in oral health promotion and preventive measures instituted in developed countries, more people retain their natural teeth into their old age as compared to half a century ago. The effect of aging on oral health includes effect on oral mucosa, lips, teeth and other associated structures, and their functional activity leading to impairment of speech, mastication, swallowing and pain leading to anxiety and depression. Oral tissues are not limited to the teeth and supporting structures (periodontium) but also include salivary glands, temporomandibular joint, orofacial/mastication muscles, oropharyngeal mucosa, and oral sensory/motor nerve systems. In India, the second most populous country in the world, there is a rapidly growing population of older adults and there are 70 million elderly people over 60 years of age. Geriatric health problems with respect to the quality of life often remain neglected. Oral health care for an increasingly large segment of elderly people will be a fact of life for dentists everywhere. Oral health can be both a benchmark for and a determinant of the quality of life rather than the length of life span. Older adults are more susceptible to oral conditions or diseases due to an increase in chronic conditions and physical/mental disabilities. Thus, a careful initial interview ensuring that the dentist is familiar with the patient's health history, followed by a thorough oral examination plays a very important role. In this paper, we briefly review the age-related oral changes occurring in geriatric patients and the role of oral physician in imparting a healthy life to the elderly.

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