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How does dental health affect overall health in the elderly?

The connection between dental health and overall health can clearly be seen among the elderly. “Oral health is often a contributor to functional decline in elderly patients,” says UCLA geriatrician Brandon Koretz, M.D. Medicare doesn’t cover dental appointments, so many elderly people go without or postpone treatment, which can cause minor problems to worsen. Dental problems in the older population can contribute to eating deficiencies and weight loss, leading to functional declines, Dr. Koretz adds. Moreover, for the frailest patients, including those with dementia, certain types of dental care can be difficult to provide. “This can lead to progression of dental problems that could easily be addressed if treated at an early stage,” Dr. Koretz says.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.