A “silent epidemic» of oral diseases is afflicting older adults. Older adults develop coronal caries at “approximately one new cavity per year”. Despite the rapidly growing older adult population, no recent data exist for adults aged ≥ 75 years. Oral disease impacts physical, psychological, and social well-being through pain, diminished function, and reduced quality of life. People of color disproportionately experience oral disease, yet little is known about racial/ethnic disparities in older adults. In the United States, the Health and Human Services Oral Health Strategic Framework proposed concrete steps to eliminate oral health disparities. Notably absent from this strategic plan is explicit consideration of nursing home residents. In the United States, federal regulations require nursing homes to evaluate oral health needs and facilitate access to dental care. Compliance to the regulations is unknown. Data are urgently required to provide essential information for program planning and evaluation on “racial and ethnic minorities, rural populations, and the frail elderly”.

(1) A.M. Foiles Sifuentes, K.L. Lapane Jour Nursing Home Res 2020;6:1-5

Article K.L. Lapane