Dr. John O’Keefe spoke with Dr. Anne Twomey, past President of the Irish Dental Association and who recently addressed the Irish Gerontologist’s Society.
The society is composed of consultant geriatricians who are strong advocates for multidisciplinary team approaches in caring for patients; however, no dentist had spoken to this organization to date. As such, Dr. Twomey shared her experiences and insights gained from her practice with their members.
- Better outcomes for patients can be expected, if dentists are included in patient care early in their overall care plan.
- Preventive care is very important for elderly patients.
- There are several medications, treatments and sweetened vitamin drinks that are prescribed by physicians and dieticians which can lead to xerostomia and caries.
- There should be collaboration between all health professionals (medical doctors, nurses, dieticians etc.), including dentists to ensure good oral and overall health
Next steps for an improvement in oral health in the elderly population should include liaisons and partnerships with other organizations, such as the Alzheimer’s Association etc. Globally, dentists are isolated but, engagement with other health professionals and associations is necessary and important.