What Are the Main Oral Health Concerns for Seniors?

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There are quite a few reasons seniors should do everything in their power to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Those who keep a close eye on their oral health are much less likely to develop serious health complications down the road. Sticking to strict oral hygiene habits can also preserve the appearance of teeth so seniors can continue to smile with confidence for many years to come. Here’s a quick look at some of the most common oral health concerns for seniors and a few steps that can be taken to prevent those issues.

Dental Caries

A long-term study conducted by the CDC revealed that nearly 100 percent of adults will develop some form of tooth decay as they grow older. Untreated tooth decay can lead to a variety of major health issues, but a dentist will usually be able to fix this issue with fillings or dental crowns. To prevent dental caries entirely, seniors must clean their teeth multiple times a day, use fluoride products, and reduce their consumption of sugar.  

A professional caregiver can be a great asset for seniors who need help with everyday tasks like brushing and flossing their teeth. Families who need help caring for senior loved ones can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Gum Disease

The average human has millions of germs in the mouth, and most of that bacteria is vital to oral health. However, there might also be some harmful germs that damage the teeth and gums. When that bacteria isn’t removed, it feeds on any lingering food debris in the mouth. Over time, this can result in gum disease, and seniors must treat the condition as quickly as possible. To treat gum disease, a dentist will usually clean the entire mouth and then prescribe a powerful antibacterial mouthwash.

Tooth Loss

Practically every senior will lose at least one permanent tooth, and tooth loss is much more than a cosmetic condition. Untreated tooth loss increases the risk of many different health conditions, including gum disease, dental fractures, and bone loss. Missing teeth can be replaced with a few different devices, but most dentists prefer to use implants, which look just like natural teeth and are incredibly durable.

Mouth Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, just over 35,000 cases of mouth cancer are diagnosed every year, and most people who are diagnosed with this condition are over the age of 62. Avoiding tobacco products is the most effective way to reduce the risk of mouth cancer, but seniors should contact a dentist if they notice any unusual lesions or wounds in the mouth or throat. When mouth cancer is caught early on, the cancerous tissue is usually relatively easy to remove.  

If your loved one is diagnosed with oral cancer or any other serious disease, 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. Richmond seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Dry Mouth

This condition occurs when a senior is dehydrated or taking certain medications that dry out the soft tissue in the mouth. If you have a loved one who experiences dry mouth, increase the amount of water he or she drinks every day. You also need to speak with a doctor or pharmacist about the medications your loved one is taking. The doctor might need to alter the dosages of the medications or switch to different drugs entirely.

Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional homecare services. Richmond, VA, 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. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (804) 207-4746.


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