A recent report in Forbes is disturbing. Widespread hunger in our aging Boomers. Already half of older Americans are malnourished or at risk of being malnourished

What’s this got to do with oral healthcare?

Everything.

Hungry adults don’t go to the dentist. Hungry adults likely have poor oral health. Hungry adults likely have more oral inflammation than those without hunger, and so have more co-morbidities.

A big question is: can oral healthcare respond responsibly and meaningfully to this crisis?

So far, it has chosen not to except for the traveling road show of free emergency dental clinics. But yet, it seems it can.

Imagine treating poor oral health in the hungry, with a quick, topical antiseptic in the mouth, applied in pop up clinics in the mall, in the medical practice, in the community center.

My guess is that the hungry would twig to this approach, particularly if this preventive measure were subsidized by the local public health authority because it is cost-effective.

Widespread hunger in the elderly means new thinking must be taken. The old days of cleanings and fillings and smile makeovers are fine. But oral health services now need to become socially relevant too.

Just imagine if your Mom was hungry.