December 2, 2022
Oral health directly affects overall health and quality of life. In fact, dental complaints are a common cause of medical and emergency room visits.
Why Dental Health is Important for Seniors?
Healthy teeth also help older adults enjoy food and eat better. Learn why it’s important to make dental health for seniors a priority and how to improve their oral health.
Darkened teeth – Caused, to some extent, by changes in dentin the bone-like tissue that underlies the tooth enamel by consuming stain-accumulating foods and beverages.
Dry mouth – Caused by reduced saliva flow, which can be a result of cancer treatments that use radiation to the head and neck area, as well as certain diseases.
Diminished sense of taste – While advancing age impairs the sense of taste, diseases, medications, and dentures can also contribute to this sensory loss.
Root decay – This is caused by exposure of the tooth root to decay-causing acids. So, the tooth roots become exposed as the gum tissue recedes from the tooth.
Gum disease – Caused by plaque and made more severe by food left in teeth, poor-fitting bridges, dentures, poor diets, and certain diseases, this is often a problem for older adults.
Tooth loss – Untreated issues like tooth decay, gum recession, root decay, and gum disease can lead to tooth loss.
Uneven jawbone – This is caused when teeth are not replaced. This allows the rest of the teeth to drift and shift into open spaces
Denture-induced stomatitis – Fitting dentures, poor dental hygiene, or a buildup of the fungus Candida albicans cause this condition, which is inflammation of the tissue underlying a denture.
Thrush – Diseases or drugs that affect the immune system can trigger the overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans in the mouth.
Diabetes – Having diabetes or poor blood sugar control can increase your risk of developing oral inflammation and the excess sugar (glucose) in your saliva.
Heart Disease – Studies have shown that gum disease can increase your risk of developing heart disease. In addition, gum disease can increase your risk of a stroke and potentially worsen certain heart conditions.
Oral Cancer – The risk of developing oral cancer is higher in older adults, especially for those who smoke. Regular oral examinations are essential to detecting oral cancer early on. Early detection can also significantly improve your survival rate.
Oral Hygiene Tips for Seniors
Daily flossing and brushing of natural teeth are essential to keeping them in better oral health. To maintain better oral health, it’s important for all individuals:
How to improve dental health for seniors
There are various simple ways to help your elderly loved ones improve their oral health, including the following:
Poor dental health and hygiene could be signs your loved one needs help with activities of daily living. Consider whether it’s time for assisted living, where staff is able to assist with grooming, dressing, medication management, and more while providing many opportunities for social activities and engagement.