Long-term care

Poor oral health in people living in long-term care homes often involves various factors. It seldom results from a single underlying condition or cause, but rather from a combination of contributing and influencing factors.

Good oral health is vitally important for people of all ages and even more so for older adults, seniors, and the most vulnerable who are receiving care in residential settings. Many people often enter long-term care with pre-existing oral conditions such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, and broken or missing teeth. A further decline in oral health often follows, primarily due to inadequate provision of daily mouth care.

To support real, positive oral health outcomes for residents in long-term care, new national standards for long-term care homes must include oral health. Ensuring that long-term care residents have access to the oral health care services and supports they require based on their individual needs and circumstances, is essential for maintaining their dignity, sense of pride, and quality of life.

Show your support!

Join the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) in letting politicians and decision makers know that it’s time to support seniors' oral health! CDHA launched this digital letter-writing campaign on January 31, 2022. Visit www.supportseniorsoralhealth.ca for more details.

Canadians say the state of oral health services in long-term care homes is minimal or non-existent

Results from a public opinion poll conducted for CDHA found that most Canadians give the state of oral care for older Canadians and seniors a poor rating. These Abacus Data findings are from a national survey of 2,200 Canadian residents from January 7 to 12, 2022.

A senior's perspective


A family member’s perspective

"Hello, my name is Anne Clarke. I have 2 family members living in long term care. My brother has many challenges. One being his oral health. Allowing dental hygienist Carolyn Weiss in to do regular scaling and assisted brushing has improved both his general health and oral health. Carolyn coming to him in his resident allows for more consistent regular treatment. He is relaxed and comfortable. His oral health has improved 100% since she has been treating him. Staff at the home are not as attentive or experienced enough to get done what he needs. She can regularly assess changes and adjust treatment to maximize his oral health. If he had to go to her, it would be very difficult to organize and very expensive. Escorts, wheelchair taxi service. This is an awesome service."

~Anne Clarke