Why Dental Care Is Important for Seniors
Dental care for seniors is essential – and not just to protect your beautiful smile! Oral health is closely linked to your overall health, and it is just as important to take care of your mouth as it is to take care of your heart and digestive systems. And just like overall health, age does bring some special considerations that we should all keep in mind when it comes to our dental health.
Senior Dental Care Is Necessary for Good Health!
Age may impact dental health on its own, and age-related conditions may make it more difficult to maintain optimal oral hygiene. For example:
- Arthritis in the fingers and/or hands can make it harder to brush or floss.
- Certain medications can affect oral health.
- Cognitive health disorders may make it difficult to remember to brush regularly.
Scheduling a checkup every six months (or more, depending on your specific needs) is important for a variety of reasons:
- Heart Disease. There is a clear link between gum disease and heart disease. In fact, gum disease, cavities, and missing teeth are often indicators of heart disease. The American Academy of Periodontology found that people with periodontal (gum) disease are twice as likely to have coronary artery disease or heart disease. With good oral hygiene and regular senior dental care, we can fight against heart attacks, strokes, and other serious conditions.
- Pneumonia. With higher levels of harmful bacteria in the mouth, which is breathed into the lungs, seniors are more at risk for pneumonia. Good oral hygiene helps prevent what can be a serious, or even fatal, illness.
- Diabetes. Gum disease impacts the body’s ability to use insulin, and high blood sugar can lead to infections in the gums. Routine care is essential in preventing these problems.
- Gum Disease. Many factors can cause gum disease, including plaque buildup, food remnants in our teeth, tobacco use, poor diets, poorly fitting dentures or bridges, and certain diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and anemia. As mentioned, gum disease is closely linked to heart disease and other problems throughout the body.
- Dry Mouth. It doesn’t sound like dry mouth is as severe a problem as heart disease or pneumonia. But saliva helps protect teeth, prevent infection, and control bacteria, fungi, and viruses. A dry mouth puts you at risk for various health conditions.
- Root Decay. This is a common problem among seniors. When gum tissue recedes from the tooth, it leaves the root without adequate protection. This exposes them to more acids from food and drink and leads to decay.
- Uneven Jaw. If you lose teeth and do not replace them, the remaining teeth can shift. This can create an uneven jaw, which can impact your appearance and your bite.
- Denture-Induced Stomatitis. This is an uncomfortable condition that causes inflammation of the tissue underneath a denture. It is caused by poorly fitted dentures, poor oral hygiene, or fungus buildup.
- Darkened Teeth. It is common for the tooth’s outer enamel to thin as we age. In addition, the tissue underneath, called the dentin, may become stained from food and drink (coffee and tea are big culprits!). The yellow dentin can show through and create a darkened appearance.
While there are serious health conditions to be aware of, another reason for proactive, regular dental care for senior citizens is confidence. When we are proud to show our smiles, talk, and laugh, it has an incredible impact on how we feel about ourselves. This is not an unimportant or vain consideration. As we age, it is even more essential that we move through life with confidence and self-assurance. Proper senior dental care can help us do that.
If you are searching for the right senior dental care providers, call Cano Health at 855.CANOMED (855.226.6633). We can help with:
- Crowns and bridges
- Emergency care
- Root canals
- Treatment/surgery for gum disease
- Cosmetic procedures (e.g., whitening, Invisalign, veneers)
It’s the care your smile deserves!
Proper dental hygiene is important for your oral and overall health. Get in touch to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment. Do not wait to take an important step towards better health!
>>> Contact Cano Health today at 855.CANOMED (855.226.6633).