Oral Health Important To Seniors

Free Dental Screenings Set In Sidney & Savage

There are a lot of things we can let slide as we get older but one thing that becomes more important than ever is our oral health. Every time we eat or drink, bacteria and small food particles are left behind on the surface of our teeth and gumline; eventually forming plaque. When plaque builds up for too long without being addressed it can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and a host of other problems.

Seniors can be especially susceptible to this because of decreased dexterity while brushing and flossing. This makes it more important than ever to receive periodic oral health screenings. Unfortunately, studies show that many older Montanans forego these screenings when they are doing the rest of their routine health screenings.

In 2017, the Montana Oral Health Program, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, provided dental health screenings at 20 randomly selected nursing facilities across the state. That study found that 1 out 3 people screened needed dental care and 47% of those screened had not seen a dentist in at least 3 years.

This year, for the very first time, the Montana Oral Health Program is also collecting data in community-dwelling adults. This will help create a clearer picture of the overall oral health of older Montanans. The data is used to improve oral health literacy, workforce development and the integration of oral health into total health.

If you would like to receive a free dental screening while helping the Montana Oral Health Program collect this valuable data, you can visit one of two locations within Richland County: Thursday, July 25 at the Savage Senior Center (Main Street, Savage) at 11 a.m. and Friday, July 26 at the Sidney Senior Center (813 3rd St NE, Sidney) at 11 a.m.

Even though these days were designed to collect senior health data, everyone is welcome to take part in the screenings. There is no appointment necessary and participants will receive toothbrushes and other oral health supplies.

Both locations will be serving Congregate Meals the same day; Savage will serve at 12 p.m., and Sidney is at 11:30 a.m. All seniors are welcome to stay for a great home cooked meal; if you do not regularly attend the meals, it is helpful to sign up in advance (although it is not required). Please call 406-433-3701 to let us know to save a plate for you!


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