Oral health is crucial for seniors due to its significant impact on their overall well-being. Bad oral health can affect your heart, diabetes, and contribute to many other chronic conditions.
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Why oral health is important for seniors
Maintaining proper nutrition: Good oral health enables seniors to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Dental problems such as missing teeth, gum disease, or ill-fitting dentures can make it difficult to chew and eat certain foods, leading to nutritional deficiencies.
Preventing systemic health issues: Poor oral health has been linked to various systemic health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and stroke. Seniors with compromised oral health may be at a higher risk of developing these conditions or experiencing their worsening.
Preserving natural teeth: With proper oral hygiene practices, seniors can maintain their natural teeth for longer. Tooth loss not only affects their ability to chew but also impacts their speech and may lead to changes in facial appearance.
Avoiding oral infections: Aging can weaken the immune system, making seniors more susceptible to oral infections such as gum disease, oral thrush, and root decay. These infections can cause pain, discomfort, and inflammation, impacting overall quality of life.
Managing chronic conditions: Many seniors live with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis. Maintaining good oral health is vital for managing these conditions, as oral infections and inflammation can worsen their overall health and complicate the management of existing medical issues.
Enhancing social interactions: Oral health significantly influences speech, taste, and breath freshness. Seniors who maintain good oral hygiene are more likely to feel confident in social interactions, improving their overall mental well-being and quality of life.
Early detection of oral diseases: Regular dental check-ups enable early detection of oral diseases, including oral cancer. Timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial for better outcomes and improved prognosis.
To maintain good oral health, seniors should practice regular oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day, flossing daily, using antimicrobial mouthwashes, and visiting their dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings.
The British Oral Health Foundation is a UK charity dedicated to improving oral health and wellbeing around the world. For more than 45 years they have continued to provide expert, independent and impartial advice on all aspects of oral health directly to those who need it most.
They work closely with governments, dental and health professionals, manufacturers, the dental trade, national and local agencies and the public, to achieve their mission of addressing the inequalities which exist in oral health, changing people's lives for the better. See Dental Health for Older People.
See also Denture Cleaning