The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a government-funded program that assists persons with a persistent and serious disability that limits their capacity to participate in daily activities.
The NDIS works with its clients to determine the resources they need to reach their goals in a variety of areas. This might encompass things like independence, community participation, education, jobs, health, and well-being.
There’s mixed and confusing information around NDIS coverage for the oral health of a disabled person as an NDIS client. The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has recently shed some light on the topic.
It is stated that people with disabilities are more likely to have poor oral (or dental) health, which can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other disorders. This can have a negative impact on the individual’s health, well-being, and quality of life. NDIS clients and providers alike, are advised that:
- Brushing teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing the teeth and gums are essential for good oral health. Good diet, annual dental examinations, and treatment are also vital.
- NDIS service providers must monitor clients’ health, safety, and well-being, as well as assist them in maintaining their health and obtaining appropriate health services, including dental care.
Are oral health problems common amongst seniors?
People with disabilities have a higher risk of poor oral health because they are more likely to have had a poor diet, poor dental hygiene, and a lack of access to oral health care services throughout their lives. As a result, many disabled persons may suffer from dental decay, gum inflammation and damage, ulcerations, and oral infections.
Oral health problems can lead to tooth loss, inability to eat certain foods or liquids, acute and chronic discomfort, disease, and hospitalization if not managed. Mouth diseases can have a negative influence on overall health.
Poor dental health can have a negative impact on a person’s psychological and emotional well-being because it prevents them from eating comfortably, resting soundly, smiling, or socializing with others.
As a result, a disabled person may become isolated and uncommunicative. When pain is present, paired with a diminished capacity to speak, a person with a handicap may display indications of aggravation or discomfort in trying to communicate and be heard.
Those who care for disabled persons may be unaware of oral health issues and fail to identify concerns such as discomfort, tooth decay, or gum disease. It is quite typical to have a lack of knowledge about oral health and how to care for teeth and gums.
How can oral health issues be addressed?
Taking care of the entire mouth, which includes the teeth, gums, lips, and cheeks, can help with oral health issues. Regular dental exams, brushing, flossing, cleaning food from the mouth after eating, proper diet, staying hydrated, limiting sweets and alcohol, and quitting smoking are all ways to achieve this.
Early diagnosis and treatment of oral health disorders are possible with regular dental exams. If a participant’s gums bleed, become swollen or lumpy, and/or inflamed, as well as if they complain of or display oral pain, they should consult a dentist as they may need dental treatment.
Providing assistance to NDIS clients
Clients’ health, safety, and well-being must be monitored, and providers must help them maintain their health and receive appropriate health care, including oral health treatments.
NDIS care recipients should be encouraged to take care of their teeth, learn more about dental care, and seek out dental treatments. They should be supported in the following ways by providers while making dental health care a priority;
- Discuss the service recipient’s oral health with them and see if they have any concerns or pain.
- Make sure the support plan includes oral health care, such as brushing twice a day and getting frequent dental checkups.
- Assist the clients in forming a relationship with their dentist and engaging in a person-centered planning process with them.
- Gather information about the client and consult with an NDIS behavior support practitioner to see if sensory adaptive techniques are required for a successful dental visit.
All in all, addressing disability-specific concerns in national policy, such as dental treatments, nutrition, mental health, and sexual and reproductive health; and ensuring that individual rights are protected in both informal and formal decision-making is a vital priority of the NDIS.