National League of NursingNational League of Nursing

The Voice of Nursing Education

Importance of Oral-Systemic Health in Older Adults

ACE-S Triptych

ACES Logo

Oral health is directly related to systemic health in all individuals, but particularly in older adults. Oral health has a significant impact on the overall health and well-being of individuals across their life span. Among older adults, poor oral health is associated with pain, loss of teeth, poor nutrition, increased risk for systemic conditions, and serious morbidity and mortality in the case of oral cancer. The projected aging of the US population, coupled with the increasing number of adults retaining their teeth, is creating an unprecedented need for oral health care among older adults.

The burden of oral health problems is particularly severe in vulnerable populations. Among older adults, 70 percent of whom have no dental insurance, the burden of oral disease is most significantly borne by minorities, the poor, and immigrants. According to the 2000 Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health, oral health is key to overall health and all health professions can play a role in reducing the burden of disease.

Importance of Oral-Systemic Health in Older Adults

  • Download All Files for This Teaching Strategy

  • Learning Objectives

  • Learner Pre-Work

  • Suggested Learning Activities

  • Suggested Reading

  • Author Information