Toronto Dentist Takes a Bite Out of Dental Hygiene Neglect in the Elder Community

Feb 19, 2014

Looking after our teeth is something that we are taught from a very young age to do on a day to day basis, by doing basic things like brushing and making regular trips to the dentist.

But a new issue has emerged within the elder community, a dangerous trend showing that elderly people’s dental care is being abused or neglected.

Untreated dental issues in seniors can result in gum disease spreading, which could result in unbearable symptoms leaving people with the inability to speak, chew or even smile. For elderly people the issues are heightened as they have a tendency to suffer from a greater number of dental issues including darkened teeth, root decay, dry mouth and denture-induced stomatitis.

Root decay, a condition that according to research 50% of people over 75 suffer from, can cause abscesses that if left untreated could create more severe bouts of infection resulting, in extreme circumstances, in death.

Arthritis in the fingers can also limit a person’s ability to brush or floss correctly, or at all.

Now a Toronto Dentist has officially launched the Dental Elder Abuse Response Project (D.E.A.R) with the backing of her dental colleagues at Runnymede Hospital in the city and with provincial politicians and members of the media’s support. The project aims to highlight the terrible conditions that many elderly people suffer from when it comes to their oral and dental hygiene. Dr Natalie Archer cited her time as a mobile dentist for stirring in her a need to highlight the symptoms and signs of dental neglect that she saw.

The project will seek to relay the relevant information to people in the community including doctors, caregivers and of course dentists, that this type of suffering is very real within the elder community. She aims to do this with tools such as online videos, brochures and workshops. It is anticipated that the information will be rolled out within wider communities across the Greater Toronto Area including care homes and nursing facilities, alerting them to the very real nature of this problem.

Elder abuse can take many forms and encompass many areas of neglect. As this article shows there are many issues that come under the neglect of an elderly person and that can have serious consequences for them. Brown Wharton & Brothers Nursing Home Law Firm understands these issues and are ready to fight for any case where an elderly person has suffered. Maintaining something as simple as good dental health for an elderly person can be the difference between a life of pain and suffering or not. It is important to be aware of any abuse and neglect issues within the elder community and know who to turn to if you believe you have a case of negligence.