As people age, it can become difficult to maintain good dental health. Some workers lose dental benefits when they retire, and other issues, like memory loss, physical disabilities, and lack of transportation can lead to missed dental appointments and subsequent poor dental health. Here are 5 reasons why senior dental health, and education about it, is so important.
1. Good dental care can help prevent toothaches, gum disease, and tooth loss. When teeth are healthy, seniors are able to enjoy food and they tend to eat healthier foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. According to the CDC, 20% of adults over age 65 have lost all or most of their teeth, which can lead to poor nutrition and poor overall health. Replacing a toothbrush regularly is important too.
2. Certain medications commonly taken for high blood pressure, depression, and asthma, can cause dry mouth, which increases bacteria and the risk for tooth decay. Plaque caused by bacteria can ruin tooth enamel and lead to cavities.
3. Gum disease doesn’t create symptoms until the disease advances, so regular dental exams and good oral hygiene can help prevent problems down the road. Severe gum disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, chewing problems, and tooth loss. Gum disease can also lead to inflammation, increasing the risk of heart disease. Certain heart conditions can be made worse by gum disease and may be associated with a higher risk for stroke.
4. Individuals with diabetes are at higher risk for dental problems, including inflammation and gum disease. Having too much glucose in the saliva helps bacteria grow in the mouth.
5. Individuals with poor dental hygiene, especially those who use tobacco, have a higher risk for bacterial pneumonia. As a person breathes, bacteria in the mouth can travel to the lungs; good dental hygiene helps reduce this risk.
For more information about good dental health for seniors, please contact:
110 N. 5th Avenue W
Newton, Iowa 50208