88 JUNE 2016 |
Products provide creative solutions
for older adults’ oral care
B Y AMBER AUGER, RDH, MPH
health is motivation of caregivers
and patients. Utilization of disclos-
ing tables before and after brushing
will aid in patient and caregiver
engagement. Getting to know older
patients on a personal level will en-
able the clinician to determine what
adjunctive therapies are the best. It
may require dramatic images to
show patients how serious their
current condition could get; let’s not
According to the Center for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly
one third of patients age 65 and older
have untreated tooth decay.
data demonstrates that 7% of adults
ages 65 and over have had tooth pain
at least twice during the last six
months, and only 1% had access to
care. The CDC reports 70% of the geri-
atric population has periodontal dis-
2 The lack of proper oral health
care in the geriatric population is an
epidemic that dental professionals are
called to change.
Promoting oral health of geriatric
patients requires engagement of caregivers and access to products that will
decrease risk of decay, including:
Fluoride varnish: Clinical studies
continue to confirm the power of a
fluoride application, demonstrating
a 50% to 70% decrease of tooth decay.
A wonderful thing about fluoride varnishes for geriatric patients is the effectiveness and the ease of application.
Fluoride applications can be placed
by nurses or caregivers after a brief
training from a dental professional.
For example, if a patient has a high
DMF (decayed, missing, filled), xerostomia, or lacks meticulous homecare,
fluoride varnishes and nightly fluoride
trays can be sent home with patients
to help reduce their risk of decay.
Toothpaste: High fluoride tooth-
paste such as Prevident 5000 by Col-
gate, Clinpro 5000 by 3M, and Dayli
by Preventech offer hypersensitivity
relief and work to remineralize the
enamel surface. The utilization of high
fluoride demonstrated “significant
root caries in just
three months (38%)
and six months
4 Use of high
on a consistent daily
basis allows incipi-
ent decay to be rem-
ineralized and re-
duces the patient’s
The xerostomia battle can be a nightmare! Dental hygienists have
become very familiar with recommending Biotene as
a solution. New
for a wider variety of dry mouth options that aren’t as thick to allow for
greater compliance. CloSYS offers a
product called Silver, which contains
high fluoride in the sulfate free form.
Chlorine dioxide is the active ingredient in CloSYS that allows for a rapid
decrease in bacteria growth without
the intense flavoring, which provides
relief for sensitive mouths.
The key to change in geriatric oral
be afraid to change our patients’ oral
health for the better. RDH
Amber Auger, RDH, MPH, practices
dental hygiene in Boston, Mass. She
holds her master’s in Public Health and
is a faculty member of Mount Ida
College. She is an advisor for Jameson
Management, and teaches indoor
cycling. She can be contacted at
1. Vargas, et al. The Oral Health of Older
Americans. Available at: http://www.cdc.
pdf. Accessed April 24, 2016.
2. CDC. Periodontal Disease. 2016.
Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/oral-health/conditions/ index.htm. Accessed
April 24, 2016.
3. ADA. Fluoride Facts. Available at:
facts.ashx. Accessed April 3, 2016.
4. Colgate Professional. Prevident
5000. 2016. Available at: http://www.
Accessed April 24, 2016.
5. CloSYS. CloSYS. Available at: https://
closys.com. Accessed April 25, 2016.
Getting to know older
patients on a personal
level will enable the
clinician to determine
therapies are the best.
It may require dramatic
images to show
patients how serious
their current condition
could get; let’s not be
afraid to change our
patients’ oral health for