There is a direct link between senior’s oral health & their overall health, and those that are disabled, homebound, or in nursing homes have a higher risk of poor dental health.
And, After A Hospital Stay…
Oral Health Worsens Dramatically.
Medicare Offers No Dental Care So Many Seniors
Do Not Go To The Dentist Regularly.
Why Is Dental Care So Important to Oral Health?
- 1 in 5 seniors 65+ have untreated tooth decay
- 2 in 3 have gum disease
- Nearly 1 in 5 have lost all of their teeth
- Poor dental health can increase the possibility of oral cancer & heart disease
What Causes Poor Oral Health ?
The Six (6) Common Oral Health Issues For Seniors:
- Dry Mouth – Over-the-counter and prescription meds can cause dry mouth. Untreated, dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Gum Disease – The buildup of plaque leads to sore, bleeding gums, chewing problems, tooth loss and inflammation. There is also an increased risk of heart disease due to gum inflammation.
- Root & Tooth Decay – Seniors tend to develop new cavities more easily usually due to dry mouth and when gums recede, root decay can happen very quickly.
- Tooth Loss – Missing teeth or wearing dentures can cause issues with enjoying food and getting enough nutrition. They simply can’t or won’t, eat fresh fruits & vegetables which are harder to chew.
- Oral Cancer – Seniors are at higher risk for cancers of the mouth especially if they smoke cigarettes/pipes or chew tobacco.
- Limited Dexterity – Diseases like Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, etc., affect the ability to brush and floss properly. An electric toothbrush and water flosser can be great solutions.
What Can Help Oral Health?
It’s pretty simple, really!
Consistent, Daily Dental Care along with regular visits to the dentist for exams are important to detect and prevent problems.
It is Crucial for Older Adults to:
- Brush – Your natural teeth at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush, and toothpaste with fluoride. Consider using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
- Floss – Once a day at minimum! If regular flossing is too difficult, consider a water-pik, or a single handed flossing device.
- Use Fluoride Mouthwash – To help decrease plaque buildup, & prevent cavities and tooth decay.
- Replace Toothbrush – Every three or four months.
- Limit High Sugar Foods & Drinks – They cause cavities, especially around receded gums and exposed roots.
- Take Calcium – To help maintain strong teeth and gums. Many food sources have calcium, including dairy products, salmon, brown rice, green peas and more!
- Drink lots of water – This can help combat Dry Mouth & ask your Dentist about lozenges or mouth wash that promote more moisture in the mouth.
- Care for Dentures – Dentures need to be cleaned regularly to prevent food and plaque build up. Brush them at least twice per day & use a Denture Cleanser. Soak them overnight in water or a dental cleaning solution.
Remember, that physical difficulties can stop Seniors from keeping up with their own Dental Health!
Get Them the Assistance They Need — In-Home Caregiving can help with daily Oral Care and daily Acts of Living.
Need More Info? Check out: CDC Oral Health Basics
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