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Dental Hygiene for those housebound

Posted Mar 10 2010 12:00am

Case Study: A.F. Is Dying at Home

A.F. is a 79-year-old woman with metastatic breast cancer who is in her own home, cared for by her daughter with the help of the home hospice program. She developed aspiration pneumonia, and was treated with oral antibiotics. This does not do good things to an already frail body. It can be prevented.

Why does she have aspiration pneumonia?

Dental hygiene is a difficult issue for many who are confined to their homes. In Ontario, Dental Hygienists may now visit clients in their own homes. Unfortunately, despite progress in this area, many new hygienists cannot afford such a practice.

What do Hygienists do? They can clean teeth, remove plaque, and the bacteria that threaten especially the weak and frail. They can reduce the risk of those with cancer, diabetes and other medical issues, by keeping a mouth cleaner than perhaps, a caregiver might be able to, if a patient cannot. Bacteria in the mouth can be either aspirated into the lungs, or enter an open sore in the mouth, thereby entering the blood stream. This leads to many health concerns.

Look around in Ontario for a dental hygienist willing to make such a housecall. We have made such progress in the area of midwives and Nurse Practitioners, who save the health care system many thousands of dollars. This is in arena in which change MUST occur with failing seniors in a growing population.

The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) is pleased to announce the availability of a new poster and educational resources for clients; fact sheets and a series of colourful public education brochures titled "A healthier mouth for a healthier you!"; The fact sheets provide information on gingivitis and mouthguards and the brochures describe in lay terms the association between oral disease and the occurrence and severity of the following conditions: lung disease in the elderly; cardiovascular disease; and diabetes. Each brochure lists five easy steps to good oral health.
  1. Brush your teeth daily. Use X-PUR on those who need it, if you can find it!
  2. Floss between your teeth to remove dental plaque.
  3. Rinse using an antiseptic mouthwash.
  4. Make healthy food choices.
  5. Get regular professional dental hygiene care.

Oral Health and Brushing, Flossing and Rinsing - Periodontal disease may be linked to some life-threatening illnesses. You can take steps to reduce your risk.

Many Canadians suffer from gingivitis caused by the buildup of dental plaque due to ineffective oral self care. Increasing scientific evidence links periodontal disease to life threatening illnesses such as heart disease and stroke, and diabetes. This brochure promotes the key role of dental hygienists in developing an oral health program to meet individual client's needs and preferences.

Oral Health and Your Dental Hygienist - What Your Dental Hygienist Knows Could Save Your Life.

This brochure highlights the important role of dental hygienists as primary health-care professionals and as partners in promoting clients' oral health. By early detection and treatment of oral disease dental hygienists play a key role in decreasing the incidence and severity of diabetes, lung disease and cardiovascular disease. They collaborate with and educate clients in preventing and controlling periodontal disease whether in a clinical or community setting.

Oral Health and Lung Disease - Scientific Studies Show a Clear Link between Periodontal Disease and Lung Disease in the Elderly.

This brochure focuses on the research uncovering the link between periodontal disease and overall health, in general, and the development of lung disease in the elderly, in particular. It promotes the role of dental hygienists as partners in oral and overall health.

Oral Health and Diabetes - There is Substantial Evidence Linking Diabetes and Periodontal Disease.

This brochure explains the two-way street link between periodontal disease and diabetes. It promotes the role of dental hygienists as partners collaborating with clients for developing a good oral-hygiene program to prevent or control periodontal disease to help control diabetes.

Oral Health and Cardiovascular Disease - Your Chances of Cardiovascular Disease May Increase if You Have Periodontal Disease.

The brochure concentrates on periodontal disease as yet another risk factor for heart disease and the role of dental hygienists to help ensure a lifetime of healthy gums and teeth.
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