As people age, oral health becomes increasingly important, especially for seniors in assisted living facilities. Regular dental care is crucial to ensure that seniors who largely can’t take care of themselves still have a decent quality of life. However, many of them live with treatable oral conditions and face many hurdles in addressing them.
Continue reading to see why seniors have a hard time with their oral health and why taking care of these issues is so important.
1. Increased Risk of Oral Health Issues
Seniors are much more at risk for oral health issues if they don’t receive adequate dental care. As you grow older, your immune system naturally begins to weaken. Because of this, the spread of harmful bacteria from plaque often goes unchecked. Tooth decay and gum disease are the most common oral conditions seniors face for this reason.
2. Some Medications Can Complicate Oral Health
Many seniors take medications that can affect oral health by causing dry mouth. While this may not sound like a big problem, The Mayo Clinic says that it’s one of the leading causes of increased plaque and gum disease in older people.
3. Immobility Contributes to Poor Dental Care
As many get older, they begin to develop inflammatory conditions or mobility issues like rheumatoid arthritis. These conditions can make it very difficult to brush or floss properly, not to mention getting to a dentist regularly.
4. Tooth Loss Leads to Bone Loss
One of the greatest threats to a senior’s quality of life is tooth loss. As bacteria spreads into the gums and down into the jawbone, it can make teeth loose, or fall out entirely. Not only does this make it more difficult to eat nutritious food, but it can also cause their jawbone to deteriorate.
When this happens, it begins a domino effect that lowers the density of their jawbones and leads to more tooth loss.
5. Oral Health is Linked to Some Conditions
Dental care for seniors is incredibly important, especially because their oral health is directly tied to other conditions. Research shows that multiple conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease may be affected by oral conditions.
A researcher named Dr. Stephen Dominy found that these disorders can be traced back to bacteria from the mouth that enter the bloodstream.
So, now you can see that oral health has a vast impact on the quality of life for senior folks. It’s important to help the seniors in your life get the care they need when they need it. No one should live with poor oral health, especially not cherished elders. Go see your loved one today and ask how you can help them address their oral health. You’ll love the smile on their face.
About the Author
Dr. Dale Greer is a highly skilled and professional dentist with a real passion for his craft, and helping the patients he serves. He received his dental doctorate from the Baylor College of Dentistry and has since then continued to expand his skills. He is a lecturer, a contributor to dental journals, and was voted one of the best dentists in Dallas by D Magazine. Call (972) 233-4546 to schedule an appointment at Dale W. Greer, DDS, Inc., or visit the website to learn more.