As our parent’s age, more responsibility is put on our shoulders to pay attention to potential health concerns – making sure they don’t physically exert themselves and break any bones, they are receiving the right nutrition, and that they are taking their prescription medications for any medical condition they have been diagnosed with.
While these are all necessary to ensure that they are safe, protected, and of good health, oral hygiene often slips through the cracks. People comprehend its important, but they either find it less important than the responsibilities listed above or just trust that their elderly parent can handle something as simple as brushing or flossing their teeth.
Why That’s Not Enough
It makes sense that these common dental issues become more prominent later in life. Seniors are more susceptible to tooth and gum complications, but if routine care practices are an important part of their day-to-day – and consistent visits with a dental professional are made a priority – then these problems can be eradicated much more quickly.
If they aren’t, there will be other implications that could arise that affect the rest of their health:
A dentist can predict potential heart problems just by looking at a person’s teeth. Gum disease, broken or missing teeth, and numerous cavities can be just as effective at predicting heart disease than high cholesterol levels.
If the bacteria in a mouth is severe enough, it’s possible to breathe it into the lungs, creating an easy outlet for infection. Elderly individuals have a more difficult time fighting off pneumonia because their immune system is not as strong as it once was.
If someone loses multiple teeth and does not seek dental help, an uneven jawbone will begin to develop. Teeth will move around if there is a lot of extra space surrounding them. Not only does this affect someone’s physical appearance, but it will make eating nearly impossible.
How Age Affects Oral Health
Dental issues don’t begin to develop simply because a person’s age continues to increase. Arthritis makes it challenging for seniors to control their hands and fingers, which means that brushing and flossing may be difficult to complete independently. Seniors who suffer from dementia may forget that brushing and flossing should even be a daily part of their personal hygiene routine. Even if someone is maintaining minimal oral hygiene, if they are on prescription medications, simply brushing or flossing daily may not be quite enough to prevent an onset of worsening oral health problems.
Seniors who brush and floss frequently live an average of 6.4 years longer than seniors who don’t take any care of their oral hygiene! In addition to providing comprehensive care to our patients, Onsite Dentists Of Texas also offers complimentary dental assessments and oral cancer screenings to take a better look into our patient’s dental health!