Residents in care homes ‘missing out on dental care’

The teeth of people living in care homes in England are being left to rot, dentists say.

The warning comes after the Care Quality Commission found that residents did not always have access to dentists and were not getting the support they needed to look after their teeth.

Its inspectors visited 100 homes caring for elderly and disabled people.

It comes as the British Dental Association highlighted a number of distressing cases of decay and neglect.

How the vulnerable are being failed

These included a blind, 93-year-old woman with advanced dementia whose dentures had become stuck in her mouth because they had been left in for weeks and her gums had grown around them.

She was taken to A&E and the dentures had to be surgically removed.

Another case involved a woman with learning disabilities who was found to have huge amounts of decay and gum disease, including one tooth that had virtually rotted away.

It was only spotted because she had stopped eating.

Charlotte Waite, from the British Dental Association (BDA), said it was distressing that some of the most vulnerable people in society were being failed in this way.

“The teeth of many care home residents are being left to rot thanks to a system that fails to view their oral health as a priority.

“We require nothing short of a revolution in the approach to dentistry in residential homes.”