5 Benefits for Older Adults Who Maintain Their Dental Health

By Mark Schmidt, 9:00 am on April 1, 2019

Aging adults face challenges when it comes to taking care of their oral health. For instance, your senior loved one may lack transportation to visit the dentist or have a physical health condition such as arthritis that makes it difficult to brush his or her teeth. Helping your loved one address dental health challenges provides many benefits that may increase his or her wellbeing.

1. Reduce Pain and Discomfort

No one wants to think of their loved one being in pain. However, dental issues are some of the most painful health conditions a person can face. For instance, a toothache could cause your loved one to be unable to sleep at night. There also may come a point when over-the-counter pain medications don’t alleviate severe pain from decay and infection. Your loved one should have regular dental exams to make sure tooth pain doesn’t interfere with daily comfort.

If your loved one needs help managing oral hygiene tasks, consider hiring a professional caregiver. The homecare services Tucson, AZ, seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.

2. Lower the Risk of Heart Disease

Seniors who have gum disease are at greater risk of having heart issues, and this is believed to be due to an overall increased level of inflammation in the body as well as bacteria making it into the bloodstream. Your loved one should have regular dental cleanings to prevent and manage gum disease. He or she may also need specialized treatments to restore oral health after a diagnosis of severe gum disease.

3. Counteract Medication Side Effects

Many medications seniors take increase the risk of oral health issues. For instance, medicines taken to reduce seizures or the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are known to cause dry mouth. Since a lack of saliva in the mouth increases conditions such as enamel erosion and decay, your loved one’s dentist may prescribe special rinses to reduce the effects of medications. When visiting the dentist, your loved one should mention all of the medications he or she takes to ensure potential issues are addressed right away.

Seniors often need help with managing their medications. In Tucson, home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

4. Prevent Isolation

Aging adults need regular socialization to avoid becoming depressed from isolation. However, those who have missing teeth or are in pain are less likely to want to go out in public. When your loved one’s oral health is good, he or she may be more likely to attend family events and join social groups in the community. You’ll also find that your loved one’s self-esteem gets a boost when he or she feels comfortable smiling.

5. Minimize the Risk of Malnutrition

Seniors with oral health conditions also find it difficult to eat. Your loved one may stop eating healthy fruits and vegetables if he or she cannot chew due to missing teeth. In addition, your loved one may stop eating if he or she has extreme tooth sensitivity due to receding gums or decay. If your loved one seems to be skipping meals or losing weight, schedule a trip to the dentist to make sure there isn’t an oral health issue causing malnutrition.

Studies have shown that poor dental health can increase the risk of developing dementia in the senior years. Caring for a senior with dementia can be challenging for family caregivers. Luckily, there is dementia care Tucson families can rely on. Professional dementia caregivers help seniors with dementia stay safe and comfortable at home by preventing wandering, providing cognitive stimulation, and assisting with household chores. If you would like more information on high-quality in-home care for your loved one, call Home Care Assistance today at (520) 276-6555.