Many people neglect getting their teeth cleaned when life gets busy, or when another more pressing health issue takes center stage. However, doctors say that dental hygiene is essential for good health. It could even reduce the risks of some serious conditions, including heart disease and stroke.

How Oral Health Impacts Overall Health

The mouth contains a lot of bacteria. When the bacteria are not removed by brushing and dental cleanings, they will eventually cause periodontitis, which causes the gums to bleed. This gives the bacteria from the mouth an avenue to enter into the bloodstream and lead to more serious problems.

Some of the problems a senior with poor dental hygiene is more at risk for are:

  • Heart Disease: Bacteria can travel through the bloodstream to the heart, where it may result in a heart attack.
  • Stroke: Periodontal disease may cause inflammation in the arteries and blood clots, which can cause a stroke.
  • Endocarditis: The bacteria can cause an infection in the heart called endocarditis, which affects the inner lining of the heart.
  • Memory Loss: Research indicates that people with poor oral hygiene did worse on tests involving cognitive skills and memory.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: A person with rheumatoid arthritis may experience more pain if they have poor oral health. This may be because gum disease can contribute to inflammation throughout the body, including the joints.
  • COPD: For people with COPD, the bacteria in the bloodstream can cause an increase of bacteria in the lungs, which will make it harder to breathe.

Conditions That Can Affect Oral Health

There are some conditions that can make it harder for older adults to keep their mouths healthy. Some conditions that can impact oral health are:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease: People with Alzheimer’s often have worse oral health as their disease progresses.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes makes it harder for the body to fight off infection, including gum disease.
  • Osteoporosis: Doctors believe that the bone loss that occurs with osteoporosis can lead to tooth loss.

Attention to oral health is important for overall health. Seniors need to brush and floss regularly and visit the dentist. A senior care provider can assist an older adult to practice good oral hygiene habits. For older adults impacted by cognitive problems, like Alzheimer’s, a senior care provider can help them to brush their teeth, either by providing instructions or brushing for them. A senior care provider can also remind your aging relative about an upcoming dentist appointment.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering senior care in Waterbury, CT, please contact the caring staff at Franciscan Ever There Care. Call today 203-630-2881.