Getting ready for the grey hairs

“British Columbia’s population now has 31 people 65 years old or over for every 100 working-age persons. In a decade, the ratio will be 41 to 100. Ten years later, in 2035, the ratio will be 48 to 100, according to a recent paper from the Business Council of British Columbia. Put another way, the number of people in B.C. over 65 is growing at four times the rate of the number of people 25 to 64 years of age.

British Columbia is no older than many parts of Canada. In my hometown, for example, the only growth in economic activity is accommodating seniors exiting Toronto.

What does this profound and relentless trend mean to Canadian dentistry? Here are some implications:

  • Lots more dental decay at the gum line.
  • Lots more dry mouth.
  • Lots more chronic disease which, in turn, will stimulate lots more cavities and failing crowns.
  • Lots more absenteeism or failed appointments.
  • Lots more orientation to health-related dental activities, and much less favor for the smile makeover.
  • Lots more emphasis on affordability, lots less emphasis on what is covered.

Canada’s aging population is more informed about its healthcare choices and new healthcare treatments. That’s because of Dr. Internet and Dr. Tablet. We are entering a period when peer-to-peer healthcare is far more important than conventional patient-to-dentist relationships.

The dental teams which connect their services to the needs and wants of this aging population will see new growth and new profitability. Those which stick to the traditional dental services for those with dental insurance, won’t.

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By: Ross Perry