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Dental helpline delighted to advise elderly on oral health
Date of article: 18-Mar-10
With the call that spending on health care for the elderly must more than double over the next 15 years, the British Dental Health Foundation would like to remind those who have dental problems about its own free Dental Helpline service.
The report said that despite pressure to cut the record budget deficit, the party that wins the election must take bold steps to improve care for the elderly and avoid making cuts, for a rapidly ageing population.
The British Dental Health Foundation operates the only free and impartial Dental Helpline in the country and provides valuable support to organisations such as NHS Direct and the British Dental Association.
The helpline already gets many thousands of calls every year from elderly people looking for dental advice.
Chief Executive of the Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, commented: "With the right home care and help from your dentist and hygienist, it is possible to keep your teeth for life. Gum disease and tooth decay can be prevented whatever your age. “Many of our own calls are referrals from NHS Direct, which helps confirm our claim that we are the most qualified dental advice service in this country — it is just a shame that more people don't know about us.
"Our Dental Helpline is staffed by a team of fully qualified dental advisors, trained to provide information on a wide variety of dental matters.
"In addition, as we are self–funded, we are the only oral health organisation in the country to provide completely independent advice to the public.
"We are delighted to offer our support to NHS Direct and to remind people that they can call us directly for free and impartial dental advice from a qualified expert."
The British Dental Health Foundation Dental Helpline can be contacted on 0845 063 1188. Information is also available on the website www.dentalhealth.org
Dr Carter added: “Your gums may recede (shrink back) as you get older, and your teeth may become a little more sensitive as a result. Normal cleaning may become rather more difficult if you have problems with your hands or arms, or if your eyesight is less than perfect. Again, you can get help and advice on the best aids to use. A magnifying mirror and a good light, are often helpful.
“If you have lost some teeth in the past, and have bridges or dentures, you may have particular cleaning needs and difficulties. Your dentist or hygienist can help you with.
“Some people take regular medication which makes their mouths dry. Saliva helps to protect teeth against decay, so if you have less saliva than usual ask your dentist for advice. Or you can get special products, including artificial saliva, over the counter in most chemists.”
The number of people aged over 85 will double by 2026 to almost two million, while those aged over 100 will have quadrupled, the report said. For every person aged over 65, there are about four people under 65. That figure is expected to fall to three by 2029. As well as living longer, more people in care are expected to need treatment for conditions such as obesity and dementia.