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Getting dental care to elders in nursing homes

Getting oral health care services to elders in nursing homes is a crucial task, yet one that is often overlooked. Untreated oral disease can have a devastating impact on the lives of these frail patients, leading to suffering and tooth loss, poor nutrition and serious, even fatal infections.

While federal law requires nursing homes to assist patients in obtaining routine and emergency dental care, state laws vary. In addition, nursing home directors, staff and family members may overlook the importance of oral health care, not only for the increasing number of seniors who have kept their teeth into old age, but for those who use dentures.

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