What Oral Health Issues Are Most Common Among Aging Adults?

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Some people mistakenly believe that losing teeth or having other oral health issues is merely part of the aging process. Thus, they may not care for their teeth and gums as carefully as they did in their younger days. There are several common oral issues older adults face. However, there are solutions to the situations.

Bad Breath

Bad breath, or halitosis, becomes embarrassing when other people notice the odor. According to dental industry statistics, approximately 85 percent of chronic bad breath is caused by a specific oral condition. Brushing the teeth and using mouthwash only temporarily mask the odor caused by gum disease, tooth decay, bacterial overgrowth, or malignancies. If a bad odor persists, your aging loved one should make an appointment with his or her dentist for a thorough oral exam to shed light on the problem and find a solution.

Cavities

Seniors are at higher risk compared to other age groups when it comes to developing tooth decay. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that 92 percent of adults aged 65 and older have been treated for cavities. The main causative factor behind the problem lies in the fact that seniors often neglect oral hygiene. They also tend to visit dentists less frequently. Prevention involves reducing the number of sweet and starchy foods and beverages consumed. After meals, older loved ones should rinse their mouths with water, and they should also strive to brush their teeth at least twice each day.

Professional caregivers can be a great asset for seniors who need help with everyday tasks such as brushing and flossing their teeth. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Woodbridge home care services. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as gingivitis or periodontitis, often goes unnoticed during the early phases. Seniors may or may not notice their gums bleed when they brush their teeth. In time, the gums recess down and away from the teeth, swell, and become irritated. Chewing foods becomes difficult. The inflamed and infected gums may lead to other serious health issues, including cardiovascular disease. Brushing and flossing twice each day typically corrects the problem. 

If left untreated, gum disease can lead to much more serious infections throughout the body. Living with a serious health condition 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. Woodbridge seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is also known as xerostomia and affects up to 20 percent of older adults. Saliva production is necessary to rinse the teeth and gums of debris that leads to bacterial growth, tooth decay, and gum disease. However, older adults who regularly take antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, decongestants, diuretics, or pain relief formulations often complain of having dry mouth. Drinking plenty of fluids during the day can combat the problem. Seniors might also want to restrict the amount of caffeinated beverages and alcohol they consume. Chewing sugarless gum encourages saliva production.

Missing Teeth

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reveals that more than 27 percent of adults older than 65 no longer have their own teeth. Many average only 18 or 19 of their 32 original teeth. Good oral hygiene is a must if older adults expect to keep their teeth in good condition. They should also visit the dentist routinely to rule out potential problems and receive treatment as needed.

Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elder care. Woodbridge, CT, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at (203) 444-8575 today.