• By 1300 SMILES
  • August 6, 2018

Seniors Oral Health

Seniors oral Health: Did you know that the health of your mouth has a significant impact on the health of your body? This makes good daily oral hygiene critical as we grow older.

Here are a few key reasons why:

  1. Gum disease, an active bacterial infection in your mouth (also called periodontal disease), is linked to other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and pneumonia. In fact, if you have chronic gum disease, you’re almost twice as likely to suffer from heart disease as someone with healthy gums.
  2. Gum disease may increase the risk of stroke. Harmful bacteria in your mouth can make you more susceptible to developing blood clots and eventually increase the chance of a stroke.
  3. If you have diabetes, it can be even harder for your body to fight infections. That puts you at greater risk for gum disease. What’s more, gum disease may make it more difficult for people with diabetes to stabilize their blood sugar levels. Good daily oral hygiene and early detection of gum disease are essential for people with diabetes.
  4. Over 400 medications, chemotherapy, and some diseases have oral side effects, such as dry mouth, which can compromise oral and overall health.
  5. One in five people aged 60 and older has lost all of their teeth. Having missing teeth can affect nutrition, since people without teeth often prefer soft, easily chewed foods. Because dentures are not as efficient for chewing food as natural teeth, denture wearers also may choose soft foods and avoid fresh fruits and vegetables. These challenges make it very difficult for individuals to eat a balanced and healthy diet

Tips and Information

The best way to have a healthy mouth is to prevent oral diseases in the first place. Even if you don’t enjoy perfect oral health in your later years, there’s a lot you can do to maintain and even improve your oral health.

  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. If it’s difficult to hold the toothbrush, ask your dentist for other options that can help you.
  • Floss once a day to clean between teeth.
  • Get regular dental checkups, even if you have dentures.
  • Limit intake of starchy snacks, sugared candy, and sugary drinks. When you do snack, remember to brush your teeth afterward. Even rinsing your mouth with water after snacks can reduce the risk of decay.
  • Manage dry mouth Some health conditions and many medications can cause dry mouth. Drink extra water (fluoridated is best) or use sugar-free gum, candy, or mints to moisten your mouth (those made with xylitol are best). Saliva substitutes and oral moisturizers can also be effective. Talk to your pharmacist or dentist about other options.
  • If you have diabetes, pay extra attention to your oral health. People with diabetes may have more gum problems, which can make it harder to control blood sugar.
  • Ask your dentist or doctor about extra fluoride. Fluoride protects against tooth decay.
  • Check your mouth regularly for sores. If you notice any unusual lumps, bumps, or sores that don’t resolve within two weeks, see your doctor or dentist.
  • Don’t use tobacco

Content courtesy of: http://seniorsoralhealth.org/general-oral-health/