The dental health of seniors is often connected to their overall health. Poor dental hygiene can lead to gum disease that has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and other serious health conditions. In addition, seniors with dental problems may have difficulty eating properly, which can lead to malnutrition.
How Dental Health Affects the Overall Health of the Elderly
The mouth is the gateway to the body. Bacteria and other organisms living in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel to other body parts, where they can cause infections and other problems.
Below are a few reasons why geriatric dental care is essential:
1. Gum Disease
This is the most common dental problem in seniors. It is often caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, eventually leading to tooth loss. This condition has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other health conditions.
2. Tooth Loss
Tooth loss is another common problem in seniors. Tooth loss can make it difficult to eat properly and lead to malnutrition. In addition, it can cause seniors to feel isolated and depressed.
3. Dry Mouth
A dry mouth is a condition that can occur as a result of certain medications, cancer treatments, and other health conditions. It can cause tooth decay and infections.
How to Improve Dental Health in Seniors
You can take some measures to improve your dental health. The following are some tips:
1. Brush and floss regularly.
This helps get rid of plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gums. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste. If you have artificial teeth, such as dentures, make sure to clean them regularly. If you have bridges, clean the area where the tooth meets the gum.
2. See a dentist regularly.
See a dentist at least every six months for professional cleanings and checkups. They can identify problems early and provide treatment to avoid emergency dental care that is more expensive and invasive. Get help here for urgent dental care services if you’re nearby Rochester, NY.
3. Eat a healthy diet.
Consume more foods high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to help improve dental health. Some foods, such as cheese and milk, can help reduce the risk of tooth decay as they are rich in casein. This is a protein that helps strengthen tooth enamel. Also, avoid sugary snacks and drinks, which can contribute to tooth decay.
4. Quit smoking or limit the number of cigarettes you smoke.
Smoking can cause gum disease and tooth loss and increase the risk of oral cancer. If you smoke, quit or limit the number of cigarettes you smoke daily.
5. Drink plenty of water.
Drinking water helps rinse away food particles and bacteria from the teeth. It is important to drink fluoridated water, which helps prevent tooth decay.
The dental health of seniors is connected to their overall health. Poor dental hygiene can result in gum disease, which has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and other serious health conditions. In addition, seniors with dental problems may have difficulty eating properly, which can lead to malnutrition. Most importantly, choose an experienced dentist specializing in seniors’ dental care. Ask for recommendations or look online by searching dentist near me to narrow your search within your community.