Poor dental hygiene could be a sign of nursing home abuse and neglect

Many nursing home residents suffer from cavities, tooth pain and other oral health problems because they do not receive adequate care.

Many residents of nursing homes in New Jersey and throughout the rest of the country suffer from cracked teeth, gum disease and cavities because they do not receive adequate care. Those who have an elderly loved one in a nursing home should keep in mind that lack of proper dental care could lead to severe pain and additional health problems.

For example, the New York Times states that the daughter of a man whose father resided in a nursing home noticed that there was dust on his electric toothbrush. Due to this, she resorted to helping her father brush his teeth when they had lunch together. After this ritual began, the man started complaining of severe, unrelenting pain in his head. Once a dental appointment for the man was made, his dentist discovered that one of his teeth had broken in two and a part of it had lodged itself in the roof of the man's mouth.

Inadequate dental care is a prevalent issue

This man is not the only elderly person who has suffered from the effects of inadequate dental care while residing in a nursing home. Although the New York Times states that no adequate assessments of oral care in nursing homes currently exists, seven states in the country have participated in surveys to evaluate the state of nursing home residents' teeth and oral health.

For instance, in Kansas, dental hygienists assessed the oral health of over 500 nursing home residents from 20 different long-term care facilities. It was discovered that a large percentage of these participants had substantial oral debris on their teeth.

Nursing home abuse comes in many different forms

Although poor oral hygiene is one sign that can indicate an elderly person is the victim of neglect or physical, emotional or sexual abuse, there are other signs that family members with a loved one in a nursing home should watch out for. For example, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, an elderly person who is the victim of physical abuse may exhibit the following signs and symptoms:

  • They develop welts, bruises, lacerations and rope marks throughout their body
  • There are minor injuries in various stages of healing on their appendages
  • They suffer from skull fractures, broken bones, sprains and dislocations
  • Laboratory reports show that they were given too much of a medication they were prescribed

Any form of elderly abuse or neglect can result in severe consequences and harm for nursing home residents. If you believe that one of your loved ones is receiving inadequate or abusive care, consult with an attorney who can ensure their legal rights are protected.

Keywords: nursing home, injury, abuse