Copyright 2000 Alliance of Dental Hygiene Practitioners. All rights reserved.
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Our Aging Population and
Oral Health Challenges
By Robin Roderick, RDH MSDH
“The size and
structure of this
population will have
makers, health care
others seeking to
influence that this
generation may have
on the American
landscape as they
move into retirement
and old age” (Shrestha,
L.B., & Heisler, p. 2).
By 2029 more than 20 percent of the total U.S. population will be over the age of 65.
comparison to many other developed countries, the United States has a smaller share of older
However, this changing demographic profile often referred to as ‘silver tsunami’ will have
important implications for the economy and society.
This profound graying population will
reshape the nation with increased old-age dependency that will challenge businesses, families,
the government, and healthcare.
The U.S. Census Bureau concludes the baby boomers that began turning 65 in 2011, are now
the driving growth behind this wave of silver. By 2056, this baby boom cohort is projected to
become larger than the population under 18 years of age (FIGURE 1).
America’s Aging Population