Smile! The Importance of Oral Health for Seniors
Your parent’s smile—it’s one of the first things you saw when you were born. It brought you comfort as a child, and it still helps you feel everything will be all right. Well, as your parent ages, it is crucial to make sure their smile is properly cared for in order to keep them going strong and healthy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in five adults over the age of 65 has untreated tooth decay. The CDC also states that approximately 70 percent of adults in this same age group have advanced periodontal disease, also called gum disease. But these conditions are much more serious than just bleeding gums or a cavity.
How a Smile Can Impact Well-Being
At first glance, dental care may not seem like such an important issue, but the reality is that it can have a direct impact on the rest of the body. Repeatedly, researchers have found a strong correlation between oral health and overall health. For example, those who have gum disease are two to three times more likely to experience a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event than those who have good oral health.
In addition, gum disease may also increase a patient’s risk of other serious conditions, such as liver cancer, diabetes, and more. In fact, studies in recent years even suggest a strong connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s.
Ensuring Good Oral Health for Your Aging Parent
Fighting gum disease and other common oral issues requires consistent effort, including daily brushing and flossing. In addition, your loved one needs to see a dentist for checkups and cleanings on a regular basis. Keep in mind that even those who no longer have any natural teeth left still need these visits and routine maintenance to control inflammation-causing bacteria and reduce the impact on patients’ overall well-being.
At Senior Helpers, our caregivers can help your loved one stay on track with their dental appointments and can even assist with their daily personal hygiene if needed. That way, their risk for oral infections and the resulting ill-effects are kept to a minimum.
By making sure that your parent’s oral healthcare needs are being met, you can continue to enjoy their happy smile for as long as possible!