Gerostomatology focuses on oral health of the elderly people. This department of medicine involves knowledge of dentistry: prosthodontics, periodontics, conservative dentistry and medicine in general as geriatrics or gerontology (the study of the social, psychological, cognitive and biological aspects of aging).
This department mainly focuses on prevention, healing and rehabilitation. Oftenly, it is difficult to fulfill the above assumptions due to the general health of patients who are over 65 and have certain individual habits and due to changes in psyche. In general, oral health of elderly people mirrors the general state of their health. One can conclude that the worse condition of person's health, the greater probability this person will have caries, periodontal disease and dental cavities after teeth loss. 86% of people are affected by at least one chronic disease, such as: joint, respiratory, circulatory, neurological diseases, osteoporosis and cancer. Additionally, many older people have other disabilities like hearing loss, poor eyesight, issues with tastes recognition, which may cause incompliance with recommendations of the doctor. This group of patients take at least five or more drugs a day, what may lead to xerostomia- the feeling of dry mouth. One cannot omit people with cognitive impairment, where dementia interrupt remembering about daily oral hygiene. The above problems make dentist aware of a different approach to older patients and that they should imply general medicine knowledge.
Successful ageing is mainly influenced by maintenance of teeth. The report published by the European Union on the age of the population shows that by the 2060 practically every third citizen of EU will have 65 or more. By this time the structure of the population will change notably, influencing the expectancy of lifespan. This will be a new struggle for the doctors in the field of gerostomatology.
Article translated with XTRF