Let’s Talk About It: Dental Care for Seniors

Oral health is essential to our overall health, so taking proper care of our teeth is more important than we think!

Various individual factors come into play regarding seniors’ oral and dental health and depend mainly on personal circumstances and histories.

In addition to the general wear and tear that takes place over passing years, there might also be genetic or developed predispositions to oral and dental health problems, side effects from medications that impact oral and dental health, and other similar factors that become relevant to seniors’ oral and dental health.

It is also worth remembering that seemingly unrelated changes connected to seniors’ mental and physical health can also create problems that alter their ability to perform appropriate oral and dental care practices.

Seniors with arthritis or other medical issues might find it more difficult to brush, floss, and care for their teeth, while challenges associated with cognitive function can also create problems. 

Seniors should visit their dentists on a routine basis to adequately address dental health.

Concerns with Oral and Dental Health

Root Decay: As gum tissue recedes and the roots of teeth become exposed, the lack of protection from enamel makes these roots vulnerable to decay from exposure to acidic foods.

Denture-Induced Stomatitis: Ill-fitting dentures, poor dental hygiene, and accumulation of the Candida albicans fungus can create inflammation of the tissues beneath dentures.

Adjusting to Life with Dentures

Jaw Problems: Teeth can tend to move around within the mouth to compensate for spaces or missing teeth, and these shifts can make the jawbone less even and contribute to discomfort and difficulty biting or chewing.

Dry Mouth: Often a side-effect of medications or other treatments, reduction in the amount of saliva, which usually controls the presence of bacteria and viruses, leaves teeth more vulnerable to decay.

Gum Disease: Gum disease can be caused by many different contributors, from plaque buildup, tobacco use, poor diet, ill-fitting dentures, or other pervasive health problems. Gum disease can result in the loss of teeth, significant discomfort, and other issues.

Pneumonia: Breathing bacteria from the mouth into the lungs can lead to pneumonia, but seniors can reduce these chances by ensuring they keep good oral and dental hygiene to reduce the number of bacteria in their mouths.

Diabetes: The high blood sugar that comes with diabetes can result in gum infections, while severe cases of gum disease can also inhibit the body’s ability to use insulin properly.

Heart Disease: Researchers have discovered a link between gum disease and heart disease, which indicates that maintaining good oral and dental health can help prevent heart problems such as heart attacks or strokes.

Seniors and their caregivers can carry out practices and behaviours to help maintain better oral and dental health that include:

• Clean Dentures Daily

• Use Fluoridated Toothpaste

• Brush Twice a Day

• Visit the Dentist Regularly

• Use Mouthwash Once a Day

• Stop Smoking

• Monitor/Limit Sugary or Acidic Foods

• Floss Once a Day

It is important that seniors and their caregivers ensure that oral health remains a priority in personal care routines so that they can keep up a healthy level of care that can help to support overall health and wellbeing.

Promyse Home Care

With over 20 years of experience, Promyse Home Care is a perfect example of an established home care agency that provides nurse case-managed home care services for seniors in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge. Our Nurse Case Managers are at no additional charge and will work with you and with your loved ones to make short-term and long-term care management plans for their in-home care needs.

The services offered at Promyse Home Care are ideal for those requiring extra TLC with personal care, companion care or additional care in long-term care.

Contact Promyse Home Care today to arrange a free nurse consultation.

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