Aging Well: The Importance of Oral Health

The latest study conducted by Agirc-Arrco Aging-Arrco prevention centers, in partnership with CNAV, reveals an already weakened oral health among some seniors and measures the impact of oral health behaviors on aging well. Here are the highlights.

A previous study published in 2014 by Agirc-Arrco had already drawn up a severe observation on the oral health status of residents in retirement homes (EHPAD).

In spring 2019, five years later, a new study, this time with a population over 50 years old living at home, beneficiary of prevention centers Agirc-Arrco, confirms the lack of attention for oral care, yet closely linked to “aging well”.

When we think about oral health, we immediately think of children … But, it’s not because we’re getting older that we have to put our teeth aside, quite the opposite! With age you have to be careful and take care of your teeth, your gums and more generally your mouth.

The levers of good aging lie partly in the social bond and the psychological state.

Both are directly preserved or affected by the oral state, influencing speech, expression, seduction, and also self-confidence “says Anne Saint-Laurent director of action social Agirc-Arrco.

The health of teeth and gums is much more valuable than we think and the consequences of poor oral hygiene are not limited to our mouth …

Indeed, they can cause or rather promote the development of chronic diseases and multiply cardiovascular risks.

For example, it should be known that periodontal diseases can cause heart risks and complications in diabetes.

It is estimated that 83.5% of 65-74 year olds in the world are affected by these gum pathologies! It is understandable therefore the importance for seniors to pay attention to these diseases of the mouth.

In the course of 2017, nearly 20,000 beneficiaries of a prevention assessment in Agirc-Arrco’s well-aging prevention centers reported on their oral health.

To do this, they completed a questionnaire on the assessment of their quality of life associated with oral health, their care behaviors (brushing teeth, frequency of follow-up by a dental surgeon …), as well as their psychological state.

Moreover, this study was based on data from the oral clinical assessment of nearly 5,000 people, received in the balance sheet by the center’s doctors, between September and December 2017 and listing the number of missing and non-replaced teeth, presence of tartar, dental plaque, caries, dental mobility, and calculating the masticatory coefficient.

The average age of study participants is 70 years old.

Almost all (94%) are retired and without much surprise, more than half (58%) are women.

Although this population is 85% healthy, non-protective oral health behaviors have been observed.

According to this study, the recommendations of the High Authority for Health (HAS) and the French Union for Oral Health are not applied by a large number of people: almost 40% of those surveyed do not consult a dentist every years and almost a third do not brush their teeth at least twice a day.

This being the case, these data are comparable to those of the 2014 Health Barometer for the global population.

Moreover, there is a link between a low masticatory coefficient, due to the absence of uncompensated teeth, and the increased body mass index (BMI), suggesting the elimination of healthy foods (fruits and vegetables, meat ) requiring proper chewing.

Oral health behaviors vary by age, sex and gender.

Thus, tooth brushing, in particular twice daily, would be more common in women (79% vs. 60% for men), whose health behaviors are known to be generally more prevention-oriented than those of men.

They are also more numerous to consult.

Behaviors are also largely influenced by psychological state and lifestyle habits, thus providing a lever accessible to all through information aimed at behavioral change and taking into account psycho-social factors, as practiced by children. prevention centers Agirc-Arrco Aging.

The impact of oral health on the quality of life

pain can lead to exclusion of certain foods or loss of pleasure. More than a quarter (28%) of respondents reported poor oral status, impacting their quality of life and requiring care.

The results of this study have encouraged professionals to seize the subject and include it in their support system.

Of course, the dental professional can offer old patients several types of treatments to replace your missing teeth, from the crown to the installation of implants or a bridge.

The crown is ideal for a broken tooth or seriously affected by decay. Resembling a small hat, it covers the damaged tooth, so as to strengthen and improve aesthetics.

As for the implant, it consists of two distinct parts: the screw and the artificial tooth. Naturally-appearing, the implant offers the same feeling at the functional level.

As for the bridge, it is made to measure and can replace one or more teeth.