Emma Hardy, the MP for Hull West and Hessle, has today launched a campaign to improve the health of old people living in care homes.
Speaking in Parliament during questions to the Health and Social Care Secretary, Emma spoke of the tragedy facing many older and vulnerable residents who are not receiving the dental care that they require.
In answer to a previous Parliamentary Written Question, number 134122, Emma was told that ‘There have been no national surveys on the oral health or tooth brushing habits of people in care homes. However, in 2016, Public Health England (PHE) reported on oral health in older people in England and Wales using data from existing surveys.’
The report found that: older adults living in care homes were more likely to have no natural teeth and less likely to have a functional dentition; older adults living in care homes were more likely to have higher levels of tooth decay; care home managers experienced greater difficulty in accessing dental care for residents than household resident older adults did and residents resisting oral care routines was the second most common oral health issue raised by care home managers. Further information can be found here
Commenting after the question, Emma said ‘While we rightly talk about promoting good oral health among parents for children who are not yet old enough to completely look after themselves, those at the other end of the age spectrum who can’t look after themselves are just as deserving of our support. It’s a disgrace that older and vulnerable adults living in care homes are shamefully not receiving the level of dental care they need. Although the Department of Health and Social Care knew that older people living in care homes were more likely to have higher levels of tooth decay and less likely to have any natural teeth, no action has been taken. Something must be done to change this and, over the coming weeks and months, I will be pushing the government to make this happen.’