As our bodies age, health problems seem to arise more frequently, especially when it comes to dental health. Oral health conditions like dry mouth and gum disease are particularly common in the elderly. Because dental health has a direct impact on whole body health, it’s vital that people of all ages take care of their teeth. Read more to learn about a few reasons why oral health care is so important for seniors.
Bad oral hygiene can also lead to gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. This condition can be caused by a number of things, including leftover plaque and food, unhealthy diets, tobacco use, poorly fitting dentures and bridges, and diseases like diabetes, cancer, and anemia. Gum disease can cause tooth loss and take a toll on your overall health.
Recent research has found a definitive connection between heart disease and gum disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, those with periodontal disease are nearly twice as likely to have coronary artery disease or heart disease. Maintaining your oral hygiene is an excellent way to prevent strokes, heart attacks, and heart disease.
Serious gum disease can limit your body’s ability to utilize the insulin it produces. Additionally, diabetes causes high blood sugar, which can, in turn, cause gum infection. Take care of your oral health to prevent diabetes.
This is a common side effect of many different medications that are frequently prescribed to the elderly. Dry mouth is also a side effect of cancer treatments that involve radiation to the head and neck. Saliva plays a key role in keeping your mouth healthy. It keeps the mouth moist, which protects against tooth decay and averts infections and diseases caused by bacteria, virus, and fungi. Proper dental care can help alleviate dry mouth and protect your teeth.
Neglected oral health has also been linked to a higher risk of pneumonia in seniors. Bacteria is inhaled from the mouth and into the lungs, often leading to this condition. By brushing your teeth and getting regular dental checkups, you can limit these bacteria and prevent pneumonia.
Oral Health Tips for Seniors
Though oral health problems are more common among the elderly, there are still things you can do to ward off these conditions. Use the tips below to keep your mouth and whole body as healthy as ever before.
- Go to the dentist’s office regularly. Even if you wear dentures, it is still important to get a yearly checkup with a professional in the field of advanced general dentistry in Houston, TX.
- Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco products.
- Cut down on sugary snacks and beverages, as well as snacks that are high in starches.