Oral Health Must be a Priority in Elderly People
Dental hygiene is one of the personal hygiene steps that some people tend to ignore as they age. As dental health is linked with the health of the whole body, seniors must have somebody to remind or help them prioritize their oral health. Trinity Care Adult Day Care Center in Morrow Georgia has caring staff members who can perform this task.
Oral Health Issues Caused by Poor Oral Hygiene
Dental issues in elderly people are common from periodontal disease to dry mouth and as oral health has a direct effect on body health, such problems must be taken seriously. The following are the main reasons why dental care in elderly people is essential.
- Pneumonia – Poor oral health is associated with pneumonia in seniors. As seniors breathe in bacterial droplets form the mouth to the lungs, they are susceptible to this condition and great oral hygiene can fight this bacteria.
- Heart Disease – Studies revealed a link between heart disease and gum disease. Maintaining oral hygiene can protect seniors from strokes or heart attacks. The American Academy of Periodontology said that those who have periodontal disease are nearly two times as likely to have a heart disease or coronary disease. A study also claimed that common mouth issues like cavities, missing teeth and gum disease also predict cholesterol levels.
- Diabetes – Serious gum disease or periodontitis can hinder the ability of the body to utilize insulin. High blood sugar, an effect of diabetes, can result in gum infection. In addition to regular dental checkups, good oral care can help in preventing this condition.
- Gum Disease – Food left in the teeth and plaque cause gum disease, in addition to unhealthy diets, poor fitting dentures and bridges as well as tobacco product use. The disease can instigate tooth loss and can be quite serious for a senior’s overall health because it has been associated with a lot of body health issues.
- Darkened Teeth – As people age, the bone-like tissue underlying the enamel called dentin tends to change due to foods and beverages people consume. Staining can create darkened teeth.
- Root Decay – This is caused by exposure of tooth root to acids form food. This condition is quite common in older people. As the root becomes exposed while gum tissues recede from the tooth, there won’t be enamel protection in the root making it prone to decay.
- Dry Mouth – This can be a side effect of cancer treatments which make use of radiation to the neck area and head as well as taking medications. Saliva keeps the mouth wet preventing tooth decay and infections by controlling viruses, fungi and bacteria in the mouth. Thus, having a dry mouth can really pose an issue.
How Age Impacts Dental Health
Sometimes, age does not affect oral health in a negative way. Some medical conditions like arthritis in fingers and hands may make teeth brushing and flossing tough or impossible to do. Also, a number of people have genetic predisposition to dental issues. These make dental care for seniors a necessity. Trinity Care suggests that they have to schedule dental checkups at least every 6 months with a qualified periodontist or dentist.
Improving Senior Oral Health
There is more to maintaining dental care than many people know. Below are some helpful tips.
- Brushing two times per day using a toothbrush that has soft bristles and fluoride-containing toothpaste.
- Making use of an electric toothbrush
- Cleaning between the teeth one time per day using floss or other inter-dental cleaners.
- Rinsing the mouth using antiseptic mouthwash at one or two times every day.
- Cleaning dentures every day and taking them out of the mouth at least 4 hours per day and at night.
- Drinking tap water because they may contain fluoride that can help in preventing tooth decay.
- Quitting smoking. Apart from putting you at risk for cancers like lung cancer, smoking increases issues with tooth decay, tooth loss and gum disease.
- Visiting the dentist regularly for a full dental checkup, oral exams and cleaning.
- Eating health and balanced diet which includes high-fiber and dairy foods.