Title

Preparing the Dental Workforce for Oral Disease Prevention in an Aging Population

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The growing proportion of older adults in the U.S. population, as well as escalating dental expenditures, is leading to major changes in the demands on oral health care delivery. Researchers over the years have clearly demonstrated the shortcomings of traditional restorative treatment and the cycle of repeat interventional care. Oral health care professionals are constantly seeking advances in technology, protocols, methodologies, and materials to meet the needs of the growing, diverse older population. Early stages of oral diseases such as caries and periodontal disease are vigorous, preventable, and reversible. Assessment of social, systemic, and oral risk factors that emphasize patient counseling to facilitate risk reduction, along with individualized evidence-based disease prevention planning, is more cost-effective than traditional restorative treatment and will improve overall outcome. The purposes of this article are to briefly describe current issues and challenges related to oral health promotion for older adults and to examine strategies for disease prevention and health promotion in health and dental care settings.