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How Common Is Poor Dental Hygiene in Nursing Homes?

Regular dental care in nursing homes is often neglected. Dental needs change with age in several ways: people have a harder time completing daily tasks, their gums and teeth generally begin to decay, and their bodies become more susceptible to infection. Often, nursing home facilities think of general care as separate from oral care, but that’s not the case. Oral care directly impacts whole-body health.

The repercussions of poor dental hygiene are wide-ranging. Your loved one’s dental care can affect how they feel about themselves, inevitably impacting their quality of life and relationships. Let’s take a closer look at who’s responsible for providing dental care in nursing homes, the effects of poor dental hygiene, and the challenges associated with dental hygiene.

Who Is Responsible for Providing Dental Care to Nursing Home Residents?

Nursing home staff are obligated to appropriately maintain the wellbeing and personal hygiene of their residents. For residents unable to brush their teeth themselves, nursing home staff are required to step in for assistance. Beyond general everyday dental care, residents experiencing any dental complications or pain should receive professional care and check-ups from a dental hygienist. This means it’s the nursing home’s responsibility to either schedule the appointment or reach out to the family to discuss the resident’s condition.

What this also indicates is the need for in-depth training and comprehensive protocol measures among nursing home staff. In this case, it’s critical for nursing home executives to provide educational and training resources to caregivers so they can perform proper oral hygiene care on long term care residents.

What Are the Effects of Poor Dental Hygiene?

Poor dental hygiene affects everyone. However, its effects are more apparent on nursing home residents. Bad oral health may contribute to a variety of diseases and illnesses in the body. Some long-term effects of poor dental hygiene include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Gum disease and cavities
  • Pneumonia
  • Tooth decay or loss
  • Respiratory infection
  • Diabetes
  • Xerostomia
  • Periodontal disease
  • Oral cancer

In addition, healthy teeth aren’t just important in preventing the above effects. Making dental care a priority among nursing home residents allows them to chew easier and eat better, contributing to good nutrition. What’s more, teeth affect self-image, and believe it or not, nursing home residents like to feel and look good. A resident with missing teeth or permanently damaged teeth may start to experience signs of depression and anxiety.

The Challenges of Dental Hygiene in Nursing Homes

Providing efficient oral health care can be challenging for various reasons. Although some residents are persistent about doing it themselves, they might not be doing it right. Another issue is the presence of health complications, where residents with dementia or arthritis either refuse dental care or are simply unable to open their mouth due to pain.

Some residents who take prescription medications frequently experience dry mouth and saliva shortage. This makes them even more vulnerable to poor dental hygiene, particularly tooth deterioration. Above all, nursing home residents may not have insurance to cover the costs of receiving specialized dental care services. Therefore, it’s paramount that nursing home staff ensure all residents attain their daily dose of oral care.

Speak to Trusted Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in New York City

Despite the challenges of dental hygiene among nursing home residents, nursing home facilities must allocate the necessary time and resources in providing residents with adequate dental care. If you suspect a loved one is lacking sufficient dental care, this may be a sign of neglect. The attorneys at Dalli & Marino, LLP, have over 24 years of experience helping innocent nursing home residents and their families secure compensation for unjust injuries.

All nursing home residents are entitled to be treated with respect and receive proper care, no matter their health condition or age. Your loved one is no exception. The qualified nursing home abuse attorneys at Dalli & Marino, LLP, can help build a compelling argument on your loved one’s behalf. For a free case evaluation, call (888) 465-8790 or complete a contact form today.