Conclusion

Over the next 20 years, the Baby Boomer population, as they age, will present many challenges and demands to the way we practice.  This group of individuals will alter the demographics of the world population significantly by representing over one fifth of the people in the world.  Additionally, they will be healthier, have their own teeth and will live longer than past populations.  Although many will ultimately require further care in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, they will enter these facilities at an older age than current populations.  A major shift in disease patterns has also begun to emerge with chronic diseases being more prevalent than infectious diseases.  Linkages between oral and systemic health will continue to be further established, and the roles of oral health professionals must become more collaborative, interprofessional and holistic.