As people age, it can become difficult to maintain good dental health. Some workers lose their dental benefits when they retire, and other issues, such as memory loss, physical disabilities, and lack of transportation, can lead to missed dental appointments and subsequent poor dental health. Here are 5 reasons why dental health and education for seniors is so important.
1. Good dental care can help prevent toothache, gum disease and tooth loss. When teeth are healthy, older people can enjoy food and they tend to eat healthier foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. According to the CDC, 20% of adults over the age of 65 have lost all or most of their teeth, which can lead to poor diet and overall poor health. Replacing a toothbrush regularly is also important.
2. Some common medications taken for high blood pressure, depression, and asthma can cause a dry mouth, which increases bacteria and the risk of tooth decay. Plaque caused by bacteria can damage tooth enamel and lead to cavities.
3. Gum disease does not create symptoms until the disease progresses, so regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene can help prevent problems later. Severe gum disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, chewing problems, and tooth loss. Gum disease can also lead to inflammation, which increases the risk of heart disease. Some heart conditions can be made worse by gum disease and may be associated with a higher risk of stroke.
4. People with diabetes are at higher risk for dental problems, including inflammation and gum disease. Having too much glucose in the saliva helps bacteria grow in the mouth.
5. People with poor dental hygiene, especially those who smoke, have a higher risk of bacterial pneumonia. When a person breathes, bacteria in the mouth can travel to the lungs; good dental hygiene helps reduce this risk.
For more information on good dental health for seniors, please contact:
110 N. 5th Avenue West
Newton, Iowa 50208