5 Reasons Seniors Need to Care for Their Oral Health

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Improper tooth brushing, lack of dental checkups, smoking, and other various bad habits can have severe effects on physical and mental health, which is why good oral hygiene is essential to a senior’s wellbeing. Practicing good oral care can protect your aging parent’s mouth as he or she grows older. Here are some of the ways good oral health addresses problems seniors may experience if they don’t practice proper dental care. 


1. Prevents Uneven Jawbone

If your loved one doesn’t replace his or her missing teeth within an appropriate time frame, the rest of the teeth could begin to shift and drift into the open spaces. As a result, your loved one could experience an uneven jawbone, which causes bite and appearance issues. Make sure your loved one follows up with the dentist after losing teeth to prevent an uneven jawbone and other health problems. 


2. Prevents Oral Cancer

Aging increases the risk of oral cancer, but with proper oral care, your loved one can lower the odds of developing this disease. The top causes of oral cancer are smoking and drinking alcohol. Some of the warning signs to look for are sores, bleeding, and color changes in the mouth and difficulty swallowing or chewing. To prevent oral cancer, seniors should schedule screenings each year as well as regular cleanings. They should also conduct regular screenings at home and report any changes to the dentist immediately. 


3. Lowers the Risk of Dementia

Poor oral care harms the brain and increases the risk of cognitive decline. When the gums are inflamed, a substance is released that damages or kills brain cells, causing memory loss. Good oral care can prevent issues such as gingivitis and stop bacteria from spreading into the bloodstream, lowering the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Professional caregivers can be a great asset for seniors who need help with everyday tasks such as brushing and flossing their teeth. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Naples families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.


4. Prevents Strokes

Neglected oral hygiene could put your parent at risk for developing infections that lead to more severe health concerns. For instance, a tooth infection could cause inflammation of the gums, also known as gingivitis. When this condition worsens, it can turn into periodontal disease and even lead to tooth loss. Once the infection spreads from the mouth to other parts of the body, it increases the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular issues such as strokes. However, maintaining good oral health can prevent infections and lower the risk of a stroke or heart attack.

If your loved one is diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or any other serious condition, compassionate help is available. Living with serious health conditions 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. Naples seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.


5. Boosts Self-Esteem

Being happy can lower stress levels and boost overall wellbeing. However, dental issues such as missing teeth, cavities, bad breath, and darkened teeth can make seniors feel embarrassed and ashamed to go to social events or communicate with family and friends. Instead of smiling and laughing more, they refrain from opening their mouths when possible, even during conversations. 

Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional in-home care. Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. To learn about our high-quality in-home care options, give us a call today.