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Why Is Good Oral Health Important for Seniors?

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Aging can negatively affect oral health, especially in seniors who have poor eating habits, smoke, take multiple medications, or live with conditions such as arthritis that make it difficult to brush and floss the teeth. Poor oral care can decrease quality of life and lead to serious health issues. Here are a few reasons seniors need to take care of their oral health and some tips that can help.

Prevents Darkened Teeth

Dentin, the bone tissue under tooth enamel, changes with age. The foods and beverages your elderly loved one consumes over the years may cause the outer layer of the dentin to display a yellowish color. As more damage is caused to the dentin by poor oral habits, it could darken your loved one’s teeth. Smoking is another bad habit that can lead to blackened teeth. However, eating healthy, brushing the teeth regularly, and quitting tobacco products can protect enamel in the senior years.

Wards Off Root Decay

Since exposed roots are more common among the elderly, seniors have a higher risk of developing root cavities. If your loved one fails to practice good oral hygiene, cavities may begin to form on the surface of his or her teeth, and the condition could worsen if he or she has developed gum disease. Root decay can be the result of different oral habits and conditions, including improper brushing techniques, age-related changes that affect the gums, and receding gums. Root cavities differ from traditional cavities because they grow much faster and are difficult for dentists to treat. When a root cavity spreads to the inside of a tooth, it can cause a painful infection, but good oral care can prevent this from happening.

 

Professional caregivers can be a great asset for seniors who need help with everyday tasks such as brushing and flossing their teeth. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Lehigh Valley home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Staves Off Diabetes

Older adults are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, and poor oral care is often a factor. If your loved one develops gum disease, it could negatively affect his or her body’s ability to use insulin. Poor oral health can weaken the gums and the bone tissue’s resilience to bacteria, which can cause the blood vessels to thicken and increase the risk of high blood sugar. Seniors can protect their bone tissue and gums by adopting good oral care habits like visiting the dentist for regular checkups and avoiding sugary foods and beverages.

 

If your loved one is diagnosed with diabetes or any other serious condition, compassionate help is available. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Lehigh Valley seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Lowers the Risk of Pneumonia

Poor oral hygiene can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of serious infections such as pneumonia. Good oral health can combat the bacterial droplets seniors breathe in as well as harmful bacteria from food and beverages they consume. Pneumonia can be lethal because it makes the complications of other conditions life-threatening. Maintaining good oral hygiene can reduce the harmful bacteria in the body that causes lung infections. Seniors need to brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss between each meal to get rid of the food particles and bacteria in their mouths.

 

Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elderly home care. Lehigh Valley, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner in caregiving for your aging loved one. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at 484-350-3874 to schedule a free in-home consultation.