Many people tend to think of dental health as something that’s separate from and unrelated to the rest of our health. Maybe it’s because dental insurance is generally sold separately from health insurance, but the fact is the health of our teeth and mouth is a vital component of our overall health. If our mouth isn’t healthy, we’re not healthy. Although everyone should be on top of their dental health, below are seven reasons senior dental health is so important and why.
Pneumonia can be deadly for seniors, many of whom are already suffering from a weakened immune system. A link has been found between pneumonia and poor oral health, which can leave bacteria in the mouth that gets inhaled into the lungs, where it develops into pneumonia.
While heart disease can sometimes seem like an isolated incident in an otherwise healthy individual, in fact there are often warning signs we ignore because we don’t think they’re related. But studies have proven that gum disease and heart disease are connected, even to the point where common problems in the mouth can be as effective at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.
So if you want to make sure your senior loved ones (and yourself) don’t suffer from heart attacks or strokes, make sure you’re all brushing your teeth, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly.
Periodontitis, which is a severe form of gum disease, hinders the body’s ability to use insulin, which can lead to diabetes. But it can go the other way, too, because high blood sugar (a common effect of diabetes) can lead to gum infection.
When the tissue underneath a denture gets inflamed, it’s known as denture-induced stomatitis. It can be very painful and can be caused by poor dental hygiene, dentures that don’t fit right, or a build-up in the mouth of a fungus known as Candida albicans.
Gum disease has been linked to a variety of health problems all over the body – not just the mouth. It can be caused/exacerbated by a wide range of habits, including poor dental hygiene, an unhealthy diet, tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco), and dentures and bridges that don’t fit right. Other illnesses, such as diabetes, anemia, and cancer, have also all been linked to gum disease.
Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications, as well as radiation for those getting treated for cancer in the head/neck regions. While dry mouth may seem like a minor annoyance, it’s actually a serious health concern. Saliva not only helps us digest our food, it also helps keep the mouth clean by controlling bacteria and preventing infections in the mouth. So if you or your loved one is experiencing dry mouth, be sure to tell your dentist immediately.
Root decay is very common in elderly patients as the gum recedes from the tooth and the root (which doesn’t have any protective enamel) is exposed to bacteria and food acids. As with everything else, this could be an indication of and/or precursor to a larger health issue, so if you or a loved one are experiencing any tooth pain, make sure to get it looked at right away.
Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.
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