As adults get older, some things tend to naturally fall by the wayside. For some seniors, this means overlooking oral health, which involves more than just regular brushing. In fact, dental health is linked to overall health in ways that aren’t always obvious, which is why it’s just as important as the other types of care you typically provide for a senior loved one. Here are some of the top reasons oral health is crucial for seniors.
Gum Disease Is Associated with Heart Disease
According to the Canadian Dental Association, there’s a clear connection between gum disease and heart disease. This is especially important for seniors, since heart disease is one of the most common chronic health issues for older adults. Good oral hygiene can play a role in reducing this risk for your loved one.
Seniors often need help with a variety of personal hygiene tasks, including those required for good oral health. In Oakville, senior care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Poor Oral Health Can Contribute to Pneumonia
Pneumonia is the leading cause of hospitalizations for seniors, according to the Canadian Lung Association. It’s also a serious type of respiratory infection that’s associated with poor oral health. Bacteria that accumulates naturally in the mouth can make its way to the lungs and increase the risk of developing pneumonia. Good oral hygiene can control bacteria levels and lower this risk for seniors.
Poor dental health can increase the risk of a variety of health issues in aging adults. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Oakville, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
Good Oral Health Helps with Diabetes Management
One in three Canadians either has diabetes or is considered prediabetic, according to Diabetes Canada. If your loved one has this condition, good oral health can help with blood sugar control. Severe gum disease (periodontitis), which could develop from a lack of sufficient oral care, affects the body’s ability to use insulin. Also, high blood sugar related to diabetes increases the risk of developing gum disease or gum infections. For this reason, seniors with diabetes are advised to have regular dental checkups.
Regular Dental Care Can Address Issues with Dry Mouth
Seniors sometimes develop dry mouth because of side effects associated with medication. Some cancer treatments can also affect saliva production, as can underlying health issues such as diabetes. Regular dental checkups can identify and address possible issues with a chronically dry mouth. This is important because a lack of sufficient saliva increases the risk of gum problems and tooth decay.
Poor-Fitting Dentures Can Be Equally Problematic
Even if your loved one wears dentures, it’s still important to be diligent about oral health. Ill-fitting dentures can contribute to gum inflammation or a denture-related condition called stomatitis, which can lead to painful mouth ulcers, or canker sores. Dentures that no longer fit well may also cause issues with eating and prevent seniors from getting sufficient nutrients. Signs of poor-fitting dentures to look out for include:
• Difficulty speaking
• A change in eating habits or food preferences
• Bad breath
• Recurring mouth pain or discomfort
The Jawbone Can Become Uneven Over Time
If teeth are lost over time and not replaced with implants or addressed with another appropriate solution, seniors can have dental issues due to an uneven bite. This can also make it difficult to properly chew and digest food.
If your loved one needs help managing oral hygiene tasks or other activities of daily living, consider hiring a professional caregiver. The type of at-home care seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (905) 337-1200.