Taking care of your aging parent’s oral health is necessary to prevent many diseases and conditions that negatively affect quality of life. As a family caregiver, you should speak with your loved one’s dentist to determine good oral hygiene habits and make sure your loved one implements these changes into his or her daily life. Continue reading to learn some reasons good oral health is essential to wellbeing in the senior years.
Lowers the Risk of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease affects many adults over the age of 55. The disease is caused by plaque buildup in the mouth, which irritates the gums and causes them to become red and swollen. In some instances, the plaque buildup can also result in bleeding. Gum disease is a severe issue for older adults because there are often no warning signs. Most seniors find out they have gum disease after it has progressed into the advanced stages. At this point, the disease destroys the gums and ligaments and causes tooth loss. However, regular dental visits and good oral hygiene can lower the risk of gum disease and protect the mouth.
Professional caregivers can be a great asset for seniors who need help with everyday tasks such as brushing and flossing their teeth. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Philadelphia home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
Prevents Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is a reduced flow of saliva, and it’s common among the elderly. Many seniors take multiple medications, and the side effects of many prescriptions include dry mouth, especially drugs used to treat hypertension, depression, Parkinson’s disease, and arthritis. Saliva is vital for seniors because it helps them prevent tooth decay, washes away food particles, and limits bacteria growth in the mouth. To prevent dry mouth, seniors should avoid drinking caffeine, eat sugar-free candies, use mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol, stop smoking, and drink plenty of water.
Staves Off Diabetes
Poor oral health can indirectly increase the risk of developing diabetes. Eating sweets, bad carbohydrates, and other foods and beverages full of sugar is dangerous, but when combined with harmful bacteria from plaque buildup in the gums, it can increase the odds of diabetes. Seniors who are unable to practice good oral hygiene are more likely to experience fungus growth in the mouth and uncontrollable glucose levels. The best way for aging adults to prevent this from happening is to avoid tobacco products, visit the dentist regularly, brush their teeth at least twice per day, floss between meals, and monitor their sugar intake.
If your loved one is diagnosed with diabetes or any other serious condition, compassionate help is available. Living with a serious health condition 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. Philadelphia seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Reduces the Odds of Developing Oral Cancer
The risk of oral cancer increases with age, making it extremely important for seniors to maintain good oral health. Oral cancer is typically detected by dental screenings, and the common symptoms are lesions in the mouth or on the tongue, difficulty chewing and swallowing, shifting teeth, and numbness or pain in the mouth. Bad habits like smoking, eating sugary foods, and drinking alcohol can increase the risk of developing oral cancer. Encourage your loved one to take up good oral habits in the senior years.
Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior care. Philadelphia, PA, 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. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (215) 645-4663.