What Makes Oral Health Important for Older Adults?

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Why Seniors Need to Maintain Good Oral Health as They Age in Montgomery, AL

Oral hygiene is important at any age, but it’s especially crucial for seniors. Brushing teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting the dentist regularly can prevent several unpleasant health conditions. Here are some of the main reasons seniors need to pay attention to their oral health. 

Seniors Often Have Dry Mouth

Saliva can keep the mouth healthy. The pH of saliva discourages bacterial growth, and saliva also supplies the teeth with minerals to strengthen enamel. However, many seniors are missing the benefits of saliva because various common medications cause dry mouth. Over time, this can lead to gum disease and tooth decay if a senior isn’t vigilant about oral hygiene.

Tooth Loss Is More Common in Senior

Many people think tooth loss is inevitable as they age, but in reality, proper oral care can lower the risk of tooth loss. Seniors are typically at higher risk for severe cavities and gum disease because the body has difficulty fighting off oral infections as it ages. Therefore, seniors need to brush their teeth regularly, avoid sugary drinks, and floss often to offset the problems caused by a dry mouth and weakened immune system.

Seniors often need help with a variety of personal hygiene tasks, including those required for good oral health. In Montgomery, elderly home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Gum Disease Is Linked to Heart Problems

The gums are filled with tiny blood vessels close to the surface of the skin, which makes it easy for bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream. Once it’s in the bloodstream, bacteria can increase clots and inflammation. 2018 research cited in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology examined almost a million people and found those with tooth loss were far more likely to have heart disease. To prevent gum disease, it’s important to floss, as this removes bacteria from hard-to-reach spots.

Studies have shown poor dental health can increase the risk of a variety of health issues in aging adults. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Montgomery, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Oral Abscesses Are More Dangerous for Seniors

If a senior has an oral infection that goes untreated, an abscess can develop. These pockets of pus and inflammation can be dangerous for seniors because their immune systems are weakened. If an abscess spreads unchecked, a senior can experience dangerous problems, such as bone loss in the jaw. Regular oral hygiene can keep abscesses from developing in the first place, while frequent dental visits can catch small problems before they become serious issues.

Oral Hygiene Routines Can Be Trickier for Some Senior

Many seniors have difficulty maintaining oral hygiene. Things that used to be routine, such as brushing teeth before bed, can become difficult when living with arthritic fingers, Parkinson’s tremors, or dementia. Seniors may need to accept they’ll have to put more time, focus, and energy into their oral hygiene. Some may need to use specially shaped toothbrushes or ask for help from caregivers.

If your loved one needs help managing the activities of daily living, such as oral hygiene tasks, consider hiring a professional caregiver. The type of in-home care seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (334) 593-3988 today.

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