The Importance of Oral Hygiene for Seniors

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Our teeth are at especially high risk as we age. To avoid gum disease and tooth decay it’s important to keep up with the daily rituals of oral hygiene. Poor oral hygiene can not only restrict the types of foods you eat but put other aspects of your health at major risk.

According to as many as 64 percent of older adults in the United States have moderate or severe periodontitis (gum disease), compared with less than 38 percent of younger people. Both cavities and periodontitis contribute to tooth loss. Poor oral care can lead to other negative health problems. notes that oral infections can lead to things like pneumonia and heart disease, as well as hypertension and oral cancer.

What to avoid. Smoking, chewing tobacco, and foods high in sugar, like candy, are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to speeding up tooth decay. Medications that cause dry mouth can also contribute to oral issues. These medications reduce saliva, which is needed to protect teeth from decay and infection. Talk to your doctor about how to avoid saliva-reducing medications.

The best defense. Be sure to brush twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. An electric toothbrush is the best way to ensure you are getting into all those little nooks and crannies. Plus, most electric toothbrushes run on a timer and will stop once you’ve completed the recommended two minutes of brushing. Daily flossing is a must to ensure that no pesky food is left behind. And finally, be sure to visit your dentist twice a year for a proper cleaning and check-up.

The Caregivers with MetroCare of Springfield’s Adult Foster Care and Group Adult Foster Care programs ensure that the daily routines of seniors are maintained, ensuring that proper health and hygiene are maintained. Learn more about our programs.

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