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Seniors May Have More Cavities Than Kids: Lack of Senior Dental Care Fuels National Epidemic

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – Nov 14, 2016) – Our nation’s seniors are suffering from an epidemic of untreated cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, and tooth aches, largely due to limited or no access to professional dental care and little awareness and understanding of prevention strategies later in life. According to the CDC, seniors may actually have higher rates of tooth decay or cavities than children.

The recently opened nonprofit GARY AND MARY WEST SENIOR DENTAL CENTER in San Diego, California is trying to reverse this troubling trend by providing care to low-income seniors, a group particularly hard hit by oral health issues.

Early data collected at the center reveals:

  • More 60 percent haven’t seen a dentist in the last year and more than 25 percent been to a dentist in five years
  • Half have difficulty eating because of dental problems
  • More than one-third have dental pain

But what’s happening in California is not unique. Poor oral health is a significant and growing public health issue for seniors across the nation as baby boomers age, people live longer and access to affordable dental care become more difficult.

The GARY AND MARY WEST SENIOR DENTAL CENTER is dedicated to bringing smiles back to the faces of seniors through a unique care model that integrates oral and medical health with social services and support. The group is conducting research on this new model to demonstrate that it makes far more clinical and economic sense to address dental issues in seniors rather than to ignore them.

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