Unfortunately, advancing in age brings a higher possibility of complicated health issues. When we think of health problems, we usually consider the heart or forms of cancer, and we rightly work towards the prevention and treatment of these concerns consistently. With this focus, dental or oral health can easily be forgotten or take a back seat when it comes to senior health. Medications and other chronic illnesses can put seniors at risk for poor dental health. Losing an insurance plan upon retirement, physical disabilities, and lack of transportation can make regular dental care difficult. Yet, taking care of our teeth remains vitally important and beneficial to our overall health.
What are some problems that can arise with poor dental health?
Tooth Decay and Tooth Loss
Plaque that has built up can cause decay or brittle teeth. Many medications may cause dry mouth, removing the saliva that helps protect teeth from bacteria. Chronic toothaches from bacteria can be very painful and make biting and chewing food a difficulty. According to the CDC, tooth loss is common in seniors over the age of 65. This issue can be problematic when it comes to nutrition, causing the person to choose soft foods over fresh fruits and vegetables.
68% of adults over the age of 65 suffer from gum disease. Also known as periodontal disease, it is the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bones that surround the teeth. Some symptoms include swollen, tender, and bleeding gums, chewing problems, and tooth loss. Gum disease has also been connected to heart disease and diabetes.
This problem is caused by changes in the dentin over time and a lifetime of eating and drinking stain-causing foods and beverages, along with the thinning of the tooth enamel. In some cases, it could be an indicator of a more serious problem.
Caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida, commonly known as yeast, this condition can be triggered by various types of medications and covers the tongue.
What can seniors do to promote good dental and oral health?
As is true for all ages, brushing twice daily and flossing at least once is an important baseline of a healthy dental routine for keeping teeth clean and removing leftover food that get caught. Rinsing daily with a germ-killing mouthwash will also help keep away bacteria and prevent toothaches. Eliminating smoking and all tobacco products along with choosing healthy foods that reduce sugar are also good practices.
In some cases, partial or full dentures may be necessary and even a better choice. Dentures block any loose and excessive food that could get stuck in teeth. They also alleviate and solve chewing problems, giving you strength to eat healthier foods. Effectively chewing food is important for swallowing without a choking or gagging feeling. Sparkling clean dentures also give you a better smile. You’ll look great in pictures with family and friends! Even with dentures, it is important to make sure they are fitted properly and cleaned consistently to prevent any further issues.
If you are a senior without a dental plan, many dentists offer reduced fees through dental society assistance programs. Check your local dental society for more information or where you can find low-cost care such as public health clinics or dental school clinics.
Need senior assistance navigating dental health and other concerns? If so, Griswold Home Care Orlando is here for you. We understand that advanced age brings difficulties in certain routines of life. We refer trained, experienced, and compassionate caregivers to watch over and attend elderly loved ones. When we assist with seniors’ medical needs, we always provide a level of kindness that makes our patients feel more at home. Call us today at 407-638-8116.
If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Greater Orlando, FL, call Griswold Home Care
and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (407) 638-8116