Oral health practices should start in individuals' early stages of childhood – their first dental visit should be before their first birthday – and continue as long as they are alive. Unfortunately, many seniors are suffering from the adverse effects of poor dental health.
Zakhor Dental Group points out that looking out for the elderly doesn’t stop at watching the food they eat and assisting them in their daily activities. They – or at least those watching over them – should also take care of their dental health because if they don’t, this will affect their overall health and their quality of life.
Dental Issues Associated with Old Age
The buildup of food and plaque can cause gum disease. Other factors that contribute to the development of the disease are smoking, ill-fitting dental appliances and poor oral hygiene. This may lead to tooth loss, as well as the development of other health issues.
It is quite common for the elderly to have a dry mouth, however, this is not something to take lightly. The lack of saliva production in the mouth can promote tooth decay because, without saliva, there is nothing to wash away the food particles and bacteria that stays in the mouth.
Periodontal disease not only affects the mouth but the rest of the body, too. There are studies that support the link between gum disease and heart problems. Those with poor oral health can also suffer from pneumonia – once they breathe in the bacteria from the mouth and into their lungs, they become more susceptible to the illness.
When they don’t take care of their dentures, this can cause a buildup of the Candida albicans fungus, characterized by the inflammation of the tissue underlying a denture. This may result in denture-induced stomatitis.
The Effect of Old Age in the Upkeep of Oral Health
Their age isn’t the only determinant when it comes to poor oral health. There are medical conditions that may hinder them from brushing or flossing properly, such as arthritis. Certain medication can also take a toll on their dental health.
Taking care of the elderly shouldn’t stop at watching their food and assisting them in their daily activities, their dental health is important, too. By continuing good oral practices and visiting their dentists regularly, they can alleviate the possibility of suffering from a severe illness or worsening the state of their health.