The Importance of Oral Care for Seniors

As we age, our bodies go through a variety of changes, most of which make us more susceptible to injury and disease. In part, this occurs because of the deterioration of muscles, skin and other body parts over time, and in part it results from a weakening immune system. All of this means that as you age, it becomes even more important to take care of your body and mind; not doing so can result in a vicious circle whereby you get more sick, and less capable of doing the things you need to do to stay healthy. One of the key fronts in the battle against age-related disease is the mouth, and that’s why oral care grows even more important as you age.

Malnutrition is linked to improper oral care and missing teeth in the elderly. That comes as no surprise whatsoever; when it’s painful to eat, you’re less likely to do so. You’re also less likely to take enjoyment out of the food you eat, which may mean less care is put into meal-planning and cooking. If you find it hard to chew or swallow, or you’re missing teeth, it’s best to go see your dentist as soon as possible; they’ll be able to treat the problems in a variety of ways, and that will make eating enjoyable again.

Cardiovascular problems are commonly linked to aging; things like high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack are all more likely to occur as you get older. These things are all linked to eating a balanced diet, which we just discussed is intimately linked with oral hygiene, but did you know they’re also linked to oral health? Your mouth is full of bacteria, some good and some bad, and proper oral health care can bring down the number of bad bacteria. An excess of these can enter the bloodstream through your gums, and that can cause a lot of problems. Periodontal (gum) disease has been linked to a variety of negative consequences to your overall health.

It’s worth noting that if you’ve had bad oral hygiene practices your whole life, it can seem difficult to change as you age; old habits die hard, as they say. The key here is to consult with your dentist to find out what the best practices are, and slowly start to implement them in your overall routine. Change doesn’t have to happen in abrupt movements; if you never flossed, you can start by flossing once a week, and increase the amount you floss overtime. This can alleviate feelings of guilt and failure if you commit to a total lifestyle change and don’t manage to follow through.

If you’re not getting your teeth checked once a year, it’s time for a check-up. At Markham Dental, we’re proud to have experienced dentists; we remember the times when a visit to the dentist was not so fun. Nowadays, visiting your dentist is a much more pleasant experience; a variety of changes in the techniques we use and the application of local anesthetic has made going to the dentist a much more painless outing.