Getting older comes with more and more cares and it gets easier to let go of some things that used to be habitual. One of the first things that tend to go is our dental hygiene. Dental health directly correlates to the health of the rest of the body, so it’s vital that our senior loved ones that we help remind them and encourage their annual cleanings and checkups. Germantown Dental helps senior dental care improve and makes it much easier!

Elderly dental problems can have increasingly harmful effects, and without proper care can result in life-threatening conditions. So here are seven reasons senior dental care is so important. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment if you have any questions in regards to senior dental care.

Heart Disease

More and more, research shows that there is a direct correlation from gum disease to heart disease. Heart disease is a serious problem throughout North America, and oral health should be treated as such. Although it seems as if these two health problems are completely unrelated the link is – inflammation. Inflammation leads to hardened arteries and with that can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Although that is the arteries, gums can become inflamed too, which is a sure sign of gum disease like gingivitis and periodontitis. Your gums are vascular, meaning they are full of blood vessels and if your mouth is full of bacteria, it can potentially spread the bacteria throughout the body. With having good oral hygiene, you can decrease the chances of heart disease drastically.  

Pneumonia

Bad oral hygiene is commonly linked to older adults because the bacteria trapped in the mouth are breathed into the lungs. Due to aging and the gradual lack of immune support, the lungs cannot combat constantly breathing oral bacteria and it then results in pneumonia. Brushing and flossing regularly can prevent unwanted bacteria from lingering in the mouth and eventually getting into the lungs. 

Diabetes

Gum disease, as we already mentioned that can cause heart disease, can attribute to diabetes as well. Periodontitis can cause insulin to not be properly produced in the body. In reverse, high blood sugar – which is an effect of diabetes – can also lead to gum infection.  Consistent oral hygiene can truly prevent this from happening. 

Darkened Teeth

Unfortunately, another sign of aging is that our dentin – the bone-like tissue that underlies the tooth enamel – changes because of the diet we have. The types of food we eat or the drinks we consume stains the dentin and our enamel layer is thinned causing that dentin to show. Brushing after each meal can reduce staining and promote great gum health.  

Gum Disease

As previously referenced, gum disease is one of the highest related problems to many health risks. This is caused by plaque and leftover food in teeth, as well as the use of tobacco products, unhealthy diets, ill-fitting dentures, and other things. Gum disease can cause the loss of teeth, as well as relate to the onset of heart disease and diabetes. To drastically reduce the risk of this, maintaining good oral habits is extremely vital. 

Dry Mouth

Commonly known as a common side effect from many medications and cancer treatments using radiation, dry mouth is just as it sounds – the lack of saliva in the mouth. With the lack of saliva, the teeth have less protection from decay and infection prevention. Make sure to talk to your dentist about the medication you are taking or the current treatments you are in and let them know if you have this symptom. 

Root Decay

This is caused by constant tooth exposure to acids from food or stomach. This is common in elderly adults, and as the tooth roots become exposed the root doesn’t have them enamel protection to keep it from decaying. Continuing to use effective oral hygiene methods and limiting the number of acidic foods and using proper heartburn medicines can prevent root decay. 

Age and Dental Health

The age factor doesn’t really affect oral health by itself. Many habits, medical conditions, and complications can play into it. All of these factors show us that we must be diligent in helping out senior loved ones maintain the proper hygiene requirements to prevent more problems later on. Some great ways to start healthy habits is to encourage regular visits to the dentist, brushing with an electric toothbrush and flossing regularly, utilizing mouthwash, and proper denture care. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!