What Makes Oral Health Particularly Critical for Aging Adults?

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Seniors often find it difficult to follow the recommendations for good oral health. For instance, holding a toothbrush can be challenging for people with muscle weakness or arthritis, and flossing may feel impossible for someone who lacks hand dexterity. Finding ways to overcome these challenges is critical, since your senior loved one’s oral health affects many other parts of his or her life.

Chew Food More Easily

Healthy teeth and gums are essential for seniors to be able to chew their food. Seniors with missing teeth are more likely to experience malnutrition simply because they cannot eat a varied diet. During times when your loved one is experiencing a toothache, it’s fine to serve softer foods. However, getting his or her teeth replaced and repaired allows your loved one to continue to enjoy crunchy apples, carrots, and other types of healthy food.

Seniors often need help with a variety of personal hygiene tasks, including those required for good oral health. In Victoria, in-home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Prevent Heart Disease

Gum disease is linked to cardiovascular disease in older adults. The majority of people develop some degree of gum disease during middle age, and it tends to get worse over time if they don’t receive proper care. Your loved one is at higher risk for gum disease if he or she cannot floss properly or smokes tobacco. The good news is gum disease is reversible with modern treatments that reduce bacterial populations within the mouth. Taking your loved one for regular cleanings and helping him or her find easier ways to floss can keep his or her mouth and heart in top condition. Water flossers are an option to try if your loved one can no longer use string floss easily.

Poor dental health can increase the risk of a variety of health issues in aging adults. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Victoria, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Reduce Pain

Older adults often experience chronic pain for various reasons, and they don’t need another source ruining their comfort. Tooth pain is one of the most intense types to have, and the pain that radiates from an infected or dying tooth could keep your loved one up all night. Even mild tooth pain interferes with a person’s wellbeing, and your parent may stop eating well if he or she has more discomfort when chewing. Most oral health problems won’t progress to severe pain as long as they’re taken care of early on. During senior dental appointments, dentists look for things such as ill-fitting dentures or new decay that can be treated before it gets bad.

Maintain Social Engagement

The connection between oral health and self-esteem is sometimes overlooked for seniors. Younger adults aren’t the only ones who worry about how they’ll look with yellow or missing teeth. Some seniors begin to withdraw socially when they feel like they’ll be judged for their gap-toothed smiles. Others may hesitate to speak if missing teeth cause them to lisp. Prioritizing your loved one’s oral health as part of personal hygiene care helps him or her retain more of his or her teeth. Helping your loved one replace any teeth that are missing can also help him or her feel comfortable engaging with others socially.

If your loved one needs help managing oral hygiene tasks or other activities of daily living, consider hiring a professional caregiver. The type of senior care seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (250) 592-4881 today.

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