Why Seniors Have the Worst Oral Health of Any Age Population

Why Seniors Have the Worst Oral Health of Any Age Population

Authored by: Muzna Mian

 

As you get older life becomes more difficult though all aspects. One of the most common ideas of this is your physical health. Oral hygiene is a crucial part of one's health and it becomes harder to follow up and maintain as you get older.Children must go through hard times when adapting the proper routines of taking care of their teeth and gums, however as they are first learners, overtime they can get good routines.

 

Adults do not have many major issues with their brushing habits as they have been taking care of their teeth for many years. For senior individuals it has become a difficult task to maintain due to other factors that they face in their daily lives. 

Seniors oral health

As you get older you are more susceptible to issues in your body. That makes an individual required to start taking various medications for example, pills linked to diabetes, blood pressure and various supplements.Overtime these pills can cause dryness to the mouth and reduce the amount of saliva created. The lack of saliva in your mouth makes it easier for an individual to develop more cavities and decaying of teeth

 

In addition to teeth issues, seniors are also prone to the detrimental effects of gum disease. The individuals could be affected by the extreme gum disease called gingivitis or the milder one called periodontitis. The gum disease is developed by plaque gathering on teeth as it stays there and if not treated it begins to damage the tissues.

 

This further leads to tooth loss and decay. Due to other health issues, seniors are more prone to gum disease. It was found that seniors who have a weak immune system are more affected by gum disease and can further develop bacteria and other infections on the teeth that can cause decay issues

 

In newfound research some patients of gum disease are more likely to have cardiovascular issues over time. A connection between heart attacks and strokes has been linked to gum disease which is caused by gum inflammation. The bacteria begins to develop on the teeth and overtime causes an infection.

 

This infection of bacteria flows into the blood which makes its way to the blood vessels. Since the blood vessels are connected to the heart the bacterial infection goes into it and causes an issue of inflammation. Inflammation is when the bacteria comes into the heart and blocks the arteries. Since this bacteria is made up of the leftover plaque it includes fatty solids.

 

Such fat substances cause arteries to become blocked, when this occurs the heart is unable to pump blood causing many individuals to suffer from heart strokes and heart attacksSeniors are more prone to the effects of oral cancer.Oral cancer is caused by one's mouth feeling sore for a long period of time. This is usually caused by smoking and alcohol use.

 

Oral cancer is not as visual and it would be hard to know if you have it. Most signs to look at include ed or white colored spots on your teeth. Other symptoms are difficulty eating, your tongue feels pain and moving your tongue and jaw becomes a difficult task

Practicing Good Oral Health 

Practicing good oral health is the best way to fix many of the health related issues. Seniors should maintain a healthy diet which would prevent cavities and bacteria from forming on teeth. These issues are mainly caused by eating sugary foods and eating unhealthy foods which leads to other health issues and is the cause for taking medication. Going to the dentist consistently is the best way to make sure your oral health is fine and there are no diseases forming.

 

A good routine also included cleaning dentures daily since that helps prevent the effects of future gum problems.When getting your teeth checked out if you do not already have a local dentist it is a good idea to browse around your neighborhood and find a location that is convenient and comfortable for you. It is important for seniors to feel safe and ready when heading to dentist visits. It is best to plan ahead and have questions about your oral health. Also ensure to listen attentively and take the proper instructions and medical advice provided by the dentists. 

Treatment at the dentist 

Some seniors have been going to the dentist more actively compared to others. According to studies done in the U.S, about 23% of these individuals who are over the age of 65 have not visited the dentist since the previous 5 years. And about 50% of individuals who are the same age have been to the dentist.

 

The reports also further explained how people from different economic communities and ethnicities tend to visit the dentist more or less. For example ethnic individuals who were less educated and from low income societies visited the dentist less compared to educated and high income individuals. Most people find it difficult to go to dentist visits due to costly treatments and the inability to have insurance

Since going to the dentist is very costly and some people are not able to acquire insurance there are other ways that seniors are able to pay. There are many financial aid systems that work with dentists to reduce the fees. In addition, some dentists are flexible as they make accommodation and deliver their services for a lower cost. In terms of aid systems there are various opportunities that are available in communities. 

Conclusion

Dental care for seniors is a vital part of their life. As you get old it becomes more difficult to keep up with your oral health. However, there are many ways where seniors can detect such health issues beforehand. In an effort to reduce these effects in the long run. 

 

 Authored By Muzna Mian

 

 References 

https://www.123dentist.com/7-oral-health-concerns-most-common-in-seniors/ 

https://icondentalcenter.com/what-to-know-about-gum-disease-in-seniors-our-guide/ 

https://lifeberrieshealthcare.com/can-gum-disease-increase-your-risk-of-heart-disease/#:~:text=Gum%20inflammation%20is%20the%20primary%20link%20between%20gum,and%20reach%20the%20blood%20vessels%20of%20the%20heart

https://www.123dentist.com/are-seniors-more-at-risk-for-oral-cancer/ 

https://www.toothbrush.org/ultimate-guide-oral-health-seniors/ 

https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/data-statistics/treatment-needs/seniors 

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-care-seniors
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