Bad breath, or halitosis, is very common among seniors, and some aging adults are far more likely to have bad breath than others. Many of the reasons for a senior’s bad breath can be addressed at home without medical intervention, while other causes may require the care of a dentist or physician. Here are the six leading causes of bad breath among the elderly.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the most common causes of bad breath in seniors. This condition causes stomach acid to spill upward into the throat and mouth. The contents of this potent acid and undigested food particles are usually accompanied by an extremely foul odor.
Dry mouth is usually caused by dehydration, which refers to a lack of sufficient water intake. Seniors who don’t drink enough fluids each day develop excessive dryness on the lips, inside the mouth, and on the skin. Unpleasant odors usually seem even worse when they come out of a dry mouth that isn’t coated in natural saliva.
Professional caregivers can be a great asset for seniors who need help with everyday tasks, such as remembering to drink plenty of water. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of in-home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
3. Alcohl & Tobacco Use
People who drink liquor and smoke cigarettes on a regular basis often have bad breath. In particular, tobacco can directly cause deterioration of the gums, tongue, and even the teeth. While tobacco and many types of liquor have unpleasant odors themselves, people who use tobacco and drink alcoholic beverages are more likely to have gum disease, which is another cause of bad breath. Deteriorating tissue inside the mouth naturally releases pungent odors. Alcoholic beverages, which cause dry mouth, also exacerbate the problems caused by smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products.
If left untreated, gum disease can lead to much more serious infections throughout the body. Living with serious health conditions 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. Oakville seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
4. Denture Care
Some seniors don’t properly wash and maintain their dentures, especially after eating. Bacteria can quickly accumulate on these dental appliances, which is why it’s important to soak dentures in cleaning solutions as recommended by dentists and oral hygienists. Dentures should also be flossed to remove tiny food particles that would otherwise decompose and release bad odors.
5. Respiratory Problems
People with respiratory problems might breathe heavily through the mouth, which can keep the mouth dry and cause foul breath. When the mouth is too dry, certain strains of bacteria are able to grow more effectively and cause bad breath. “Morning breath” is often caused by dry mouth. A quick drink of water and proper oral hygiene are often sufficient remedies. Be aware that certain medications can also cause dry mouth. Seniors should be able to breathe properly through their mouths and nostrils to reduce bad breath.
6. Tonsil Stone
The tonsils are susceptible to the accumulation of microscopic particles that calcify and can cause bad breath. These small glands are usually covered with dead skin cells, bacteria, and other particles that harden and deteriorate over time. A simple rinse with salt water can be helpful for addressing tonsil stones. If the bad breath continues, your loved one’s doctor can address these concerns with antibiotics, special rinses, or even surgery if necessary.
If your loved one needs help adopting healthier habits that can prevent issues like these that cause bad breath, turn to Home Care Assistance. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care service. Oakville, ON, 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. If you need professional home care for your loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (905) 337-1200.