Two important oral health policy concerns in the United States are disparities in the oral disease burden and the inability of certain segments of the population to access oral health care. Both of these challenges are largely due to socioeconomic stratification in US society. As a consequence of the release of the surgeon general?s report on oral health, there has been a call to action to improve the oral health of underprivileged groups who have difficulty accessing dental services. But in contrast to the extensive national attention focused on children?s oral health in recent years, America?s growing elderly population has received relatively little attention and almost no public health or public policy interventions. Population projections for the United States indicate that the elderly will constitute an increasing percentage of the population. In 2001, the population of the United States was almost 278 million, and 12.6% of the population was 65 years of age or older. By 2015, the population is expected to increase to 312 million, and 14.7% of the population will be aged 65 years or older. In 2030, which is within the practice lives of students currently enrolled in dental schools, the population will have increased to more than 350 million, and 20% of the population?1 of every 5 members of US society?will be 65 years of age or older. Further, the elderly population will become increasingly diverse in terms of race/ethnicity, financial resources, and living conditions. There are several compelling reasons for this book. First, oral health is the clearest physical marker of socioeconomic disadvantage in the United States, given longstanding policies on everything from reimbursement for services to who can perform what procedures. Second, the aging population will require a host of new approaches to service delivery, and oral health is often left out of deliberations. Third, oral health for older adults is an area of health disparities research and practice that remains to be meaningfully addressed. And finally, broad based approaches to population health and well-being argue for a comprehensive understanding of etiology and burden of illness across the life course. It is in later life that the compilation of preventive as well as risk factors are most evident in our mouths.

More Details about Improving Oral Health for the ElderlyAn interdisciplinary Approach (HB)

General Information  
BindingHard Back
Publish YearJanuary 2008