Oral Health

THE IMPORTANCE OF MAINTAINING GOOD ORAL HEALTH

Across all age groups, a wonderful personal appearance matters, even to older adults. While it might seem that dementia, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease can rob an elderly adult of the pride in personal hygiene, we all understand that maintaining good oral health late in life is still very important. For an adult whose wellbeing and independence was interrupted by these traumatic conditions, a clean mouth can cause them to feel healthier, more comfortable, and more appealing.

Unfortunately, a lot of people who suffer from dementia, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease are not able to handle their own oral health in a time when they are at risk for oral complications.

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CHRONIC DISORDERS AND ORAL DISEASES

Scientists have drawn a link between dry mouth and bronchopneumonia, dental plaque and respiratory ailments, and gum disease and heart disease in older adults that are chronically ill. Chronic health ailments like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia may also physically confine an older adult from brushing thoroughly, flossing, or even clearing food from the mouth through meals. Because of this, these patients may also face an increased risk for tooth decay, periodontal disease, and the reduction of their natural teeth.

Besides the challenges that older adults face regarding fundamental plaque control, daily drugs can further complicate issues by contributing to chronic dry mouth. Dry mouth in any age or skill level can raise the risk for cavities, bad breath, and periodontal disease. In an older patient, this dryness may make eating and swallowing painful or nearly impossible. Dry mouth may affect the way that certain foods taste, and an adult with Alzheimer’s or dementia may not be able to communicate about such issues with their caregivers.

We know that memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia may make it difficult for caregivers to handle oral hygiene in the home. As homecare dentists, our physicians can offer personalized ideas for the patient as well as the caregiver for handling dry mouth, caring for dentures and partials, and beating dexterity challenges. These concerns have to be addressed with compassion and respect to be able to secure the dignity and general health of an aging adult who’s living with these debilitating disorders.

For additional information or support, please contact one of our caring dentists now.