Caring for Seniors’ Oral and Dental Health – Calgary

Caring for Seniors Oral and Dental Health - CalgaryOral and dental health are connected to the overall state of health of our bodies’ in significant ways.

Many different types of oral health problems exist, some of which have an effect solely on the mouth and others that have the capacity to impact health in ways that extend into other areas of the body. It is, therefore, important that seniors and those who care for and support them prioritize oral and dental care and direct ample attention towards implementing practices and upholding behaviours that aim to keep seniors healthy and comfortable in their bodies.

Aging and Oral Health

There are a whole host of different individual factors that come into play when it comes to seniors’ oral health, the state of which depend largely on personal circumstances and histories. In addition to the general wear and tear that takes place over passing years, there may also be genetic or developed predispositions to oral health problems, side-effects from medications that affect oral health, and other similar factors that become pertinent to seniors’ oral and dental health. It is also worth noting that seemingly unrelated changes that are connected to seniors mental and physical health can also come to create barriers that inhibit their ability to perform appropriate practices of oral care. Seniors who have arthritis, or other issues that alter the mobility or comfort in their hands and fingers, may find it more challenging to brush, floss, and care for their teeth and mouths, while difficulties associated with cognitive function can also act as hindrances.

Concerns with Oral and Dental Health

There is great diversity in how oral and dental health issues can vary in their reach and intensity. While some impact just the specific oral area, others may play a part in the development of pervasive problems that influence the body in more overarching ways. Seniors and their caregivers should be proactive about oral and dental care in order to best prevent any health problems that can impact seniors’ lives in an undesirable way.

  • Jaw Problems: Teeth can tend to move around within the mouth to compensate for spaces or missing teeth, and these shifts can make the jawbone less even, and can contribute to discomfort and difficulty biting or chewing.
  • Root Decay: As gum tissue recedes and the roots of teeth become exposed, the lack of protection from enamel makes these roots vulnerable to decay from exposure to acidic foods.
  • Denture-Induced Stomatitis: Ill-fitting dentures, poor dental hygiene, and accumulation of the Candida albicans fungus can create inflammation of the tissues that lie beneath dentures.
  • Dry Mouth: Often a side-effect of medications or other treatments, reduction in the amount of saliva, which usually controls the presence of bacteria and viruses, leaves teeth more vulnerable to decay.
  • Gum Disease: Gum disease can be caused by a whole bunch of different contributors, from buildup of plaque, tobacco use, poor diet, ill-fitting dentures, or other pervasive health problems. Gum disease can result in the loss of teeth, great discomfort, and other problems.
  • Diabetes: The high blood sugar that comes along with diabetes can result in gum infections, while severe cases of gum disease can also inhibit the body’s ability to make proper use of insulin.
  • Heart Disease: A connection has been discovered between gum disease and heart disease, which indicates that maintaining good oral and dental health can help prevent heart problems such as heart attacks or strokes. ​
  • Pneumonia: Breathing bacteria from the mouth into the lungs can lead to pneumonia, but seniors have the opportunity to reduce these chances by ensuring they keep good oral and dental hygiene to reduce the amount of bacteria residing in their mouths.

Oral and Dental Care for Seniors

Seniors and their caregivers have the power to integrate and implement practices and behaviours that can help maintain better oral and dental health:

  • Visit the Dentist Regularly
  • Use Mouthwash Once a Day
  • Use Fluoridated Toothpaste
  • Stop Smoking
  • Monitor/Limit Sugary or Acidic Foods
  • Floss Once a Day
  • Clean Dentures Daily
  • Brush Twice a Day

It is important that seniors and their caregivers make sure that oral and dental health remain priorities in seniors’ personal care routines so that they can pursue and maintain a healthful state of oral and dental care that can better foster overall wellbeing. Seniors in Calgary should visit their dentists on a regular basis to check for, and properly address, concerns as arise.

Contact us today for a Free Home Care Assessment by a Nurse to discuss how our services in Calgary can help you or your loved one care for their health and wellbeing.

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