Oral Diseases of the Elderly in Nigeria: Dental Health Problem in Focus
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Oral diseases are the most common non-communicable diseases and affect people throughout their lifetime, causing pain, discomfort, disfigurement and even death. Some of the most common diseases that impact our oral health include tooth decay (cavities), gum (periodontal) and oral cancer. They are basically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque – a sticky film of bacteria to build up on the teeth and harden. The proportion of the older people continues to grow worldwide, especially in developing countries. Oral diseases among the elderly are fast becoming the leading cause of disability and mortality, and health and social policy-makers with face tremendous challenges posed by rapidly changing burden of chronic diseases in older people. In Nigeria today, oral health may not be perceived as a priority in older people’s care, and can easily be neglected while focusing on other conditions a patient may be living with. It is against this backdrop that this paper examines oral diseases with special reference to dental health problem among the elderly. It also looks at the possible causes and effects of oral diseases among the elderly in Nigeria. The paper, suggest ways to improve older people’s oral health in Nigeria.
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