It is common for seniors to allow their health to slide as they grow older, which could result in them neglecting their teeth and gums.
However, as oral health is connected to the whole body, it is important they make it a priority to avoid unwanted medical conditions.
If you are guilty of neglecting your teeth and gums, or know an elderly relative who does so, here are five reasons why senior oral health is important.
- Prevents the Development of Diabetes
Diabetes is typically diagnosed in middle-aged and older adults. The health condition ultimately impairs the body’s ability to use insulin.
It might, however, surprise you to learn that the culprit could be severe gum disease, which is known as periodontitis, as it can make it harder to control your glucose levels.
It is, therefore, imperative to maintain good dental hygiene by brushing twice daily, flossing each day and making routine dental checkups.
- Avoids Pneumonia
Seniors are often more susceptible to pneumonia, which is caused by breathing in bacterial droplets from the mouth and then into the lungs.
It’s for this reason why poor dental hygiene has been linked to the condition.
Both nursing home staff and caregivers must help seniors to maintain good oral health, especially if an elder is unable to effectively care for their teeth and gums themselves.
- Improves Heart Health
Many studies have found there is a strong link between gum disease and heart disease.
By caring for your oral health, you will be less likely to experience a stroke, heart attack or another cardiovascular issue.
The American Academy of Periodontology has also stated that those living with periodontal disease are twice as likely to struggle with heart disease or coronary heart disease.
It is crucial for seniors to avoid various common dental health issues, such as:
- Missing teeth
- Gum disease (Gingivitis)
- Eases Dry Mouth
As many seniors will need to take many medications as they grow older, they will be more likely to suffer from dry mouth. As it can lead to a reduction in saliva, an elder will be more vulnerable to tooth decay or a gum infection, which can cause cavities, an abscess, gum disease and tooth loss.
As they might be unable to stop taking a medication, a senior can prevent dry mouth by:
- Limiting their caffeine intake
- Chewing sugar free gum
- Avoiding the use of tobacco
- Regularly sipping water
Seniors should also visit their dentist at least every six months for an examination, as they will have access to high-quality dental supplies UK from companies such as Kent Express, so they can prevent the development of dry mouth or an oral health condition.
- Combats Denture Stomatitis
Denture stomatitis is often caused by poor oral hygiene and ill-fitting dentures, which can lead to tissue inflammation. Unfortunately, this can be rather uncomfortable for a senior, who will likely need an antifungal medication and a denture removal to resolve the complaint.