Have you ever taken time to look at an elderly person’s hands? They usually show the wear and tear of many decades of use. Many elderly adults suffer from enlarged joints, crooked fingers and weakened grips, thanks to arthritis after years of repetitive actions. This can negatively affect a senior’s dental health, which in turn affects the heart and other areas of the body.
How does arthritis affect dental health, you ask? Arthritis pain will prevent someone from brushing their teeth or dentures regularly, and you can forget about flossing! I have seen these issues first hand in seniors, and it is important that loved ones and caregivers make special attempts to assist with dental maintenance and make sure seniors are going to the dentist every six months, or more frequently when issues arise.
There is a definite connection between dental health and heart health in seniors, as well as other physical conditions and maladies. In fact, research indicates periodontal disease can be a predictor of coronary artery disease (heart disease), even more so than cholesterol levels, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. Those who suffer from gum disease are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease.
Another common health problem that is further complicated among seniors with poor dental health is Diabetes. Periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, can inhibit the body’s ability to use insulin. High blood sugar is a catalyst for gum infections.
Pneumonia is also a concern for seniors with poor oral hygiene habits. Bacteria found in the mouth are aspirated to the lungs making older adults more prone to developing pneumonia. This can be a fatal complication, without a doubt.
Special attention should be taken with older adults in nursing homes and under in-home care, to make sure dentures are cleaned every day, and the teeth, tongue and gums are brushed regularly to prevent gum disease and the threat of these nasty health conditions. I’ll reiterate the importance of making sure seniors are seen by a dental health professional every six months or more frequently, if necessary, to make sure all measures are taken to keep these diseases from occurring or becoming more challenging.
Home Helpers® proudly serves male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Give me a call if you are unable to tend to a senior loved one’s dental needs, and learn more about everything that is made possible thanks to our compassionate caregivers at Home Helpers®. We are Making Life Easier℠. 727-972-2539
Source: A Place for Mom