The older we get, the more time it seems necessary to spend on maintaining optimum health. Between checkups with primary care physicians, blood work and other lab tests, visits with specialists for chronic conditions, and more, there is one area that many seniors seem to let fall by the wayside: continued, ongoing dental care. While the reasons for this are varied, it is crucial for all of us, regardless of age, to stay on top of oral hygiene needs.
In fact, statistics show that in adults over age 65, as many as 40% suffer from gum infections, 30% struggle with issues related to broken and/or decaying teeth, and nearly a fourth have no teeth at all.
In addition to the pain and discomfort poor oral hygiene causes, the home care team at Nightingale Homecare shares several key risks that can arise:
- Sickness: Infections in the gums can lead to serious infections throughout other parts of the body. Even something as seemingly innocuous as bad breath can indicate the presence of an infection that could travel through the bloodstream to the heart and lungs, resulting in pneumonia or other respiratory illnesses. In fact, gum disease is even linked to the prevalence of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
- Eating difficulties: Older adults with dental problems struggle with the ability to chew healthy foods like meat, vegetables, and nuts, opting instead of softer foods that are often low in nutrients and high in salt, fat and sugar. Malnutrition causes additional physical problems such as an increased risk of falls, diabetes, immune deficiencies, heart disease, and more.
- Isolation: The self-consciousness resulting from failing teeth and gums, along with the discomfort experienced in eating can cause older adults with poor oral hygiene to avoid social situations. And we know that a lack of healthy socialization leads to a variety of conditions, both physical and emotional, including depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline.
Help your senior loved ones maintain good oral hygiene to maximize overall health and wellbeing. Nightingale Homecare, top providers of the best Phoenix care at home for seniors, is on hand to keep seniors healthy and well by providing transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments, including visits with the dentist, running errands such as picking up any needed prescriptions and dental care products, and a full range of both medical and non-medical in-home care services. By monitoring a senior’s health ongoing, we can help proactively catch and address any problems early, and avoid serious complications that can arise when needs go unmet.
Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 to improve quality of life for your senior loved ones!