For Elderly Dental Care

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Self-test For Elderly to Identify a Need For Immediate Dental Care

According to Missouri researchers, older Americans avoid going to the dentist unless they have a dental problem such as a toothache or other oral pain.

Dr. John E. Morley, director of Geriatric Medicine at St. Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, and his team have developed a quick checklist for senior citizens to use to assess if they should seek prompt dental attention. The health quiz spells D E N T A L to help alert the elderly for symptoms:

Dry Mouth

Eating difficulty

No dental care in the last 2 years

Tooth or mouth pain

Alteration or change in food selection for ease of eating

Lesions, sores or lumps in the mouth

The quiz is intended to help protect seniors, especially in scenarios where oral cancer may be left undiagnosed, and could eventually cause death. Dental problems can also lead to unnecessary pain, infections and eventual tooth loss that can interfere with the person’s ability to eat and chew with ease. Speech patterns can also be affected.

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