6 Motivations for Maintaining Oral Hygiene in the Senior Years

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Maintaining Oral Hygiene in the Senior Years in New Hampshire

Seniors need to practice good oral hygiene every day. They must also see their dental care providers at least once a year. Maintaining optimal oral health remains essential to ensuring overall health.

1. Prevents Pain

If a cavity remains untreated, the condition commonly progresses. The affected tooth may fracture, exposing the nerve and causing extreme pain. The tooth may become infected, and the infection may spread from the tooth to the surrounding soft tissue and cause an abscess, which also causes discomfort. Failing to brush teeth twice daily could lead to receding and irritated gums that become portals for infection. When seniors notice any type of oral problems, they must consult with their dentists to avoid discomfort.

2. Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

If an oral infection invades the gums, the microbes gain access to the bloodstream. The organisms have been known to travel through the body’s circulatory system while affecting the vessels and the heart. When the organisms cause infection in blood vessels, the tissues become inflamed secondary to action caused by the immune system. Blood clotting and vessel narrowing occur. In the heart, infections cause inflammation, swelling, and irreversible tissue damage. 

Poor dental health can increase the risk of a variety of health issues in aging adults. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in New Hampshire, 24-hour care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

3. Minimizes Medication Side Effects

Numerous seniors take prescription drugs such as anti-seizure or Parkinson’s medications, which often cause oral dryness. Without sufficient levels of saliva, food particles fail to break down in the mouth, encouraging the proliferation of harmful organisms, which leads to tooth erosion and decay. Frequently rinsing the mouth and brushing the teeth remains vital to prevent deterioration and infection.

4. Prevents Loneliness

Older adults who lose teeth or have teeth in poor condition often resist socializing out of embarrassment, which affects their self-esteem. Statistics indicate seniors who don’t regularly socialize with others become isolated, which leads to depression. In turn, chronically depressed seniors often develop a variety of medical conditions. Family members should encourage their older loved ones to have the medical intervention needed to correct oral problems.

5. Lowers the Risk of Malnutrition

When seniors have cavities, broken teeth, or other oral problems, they likely exercise caution when attempting to eat to avoid pain. They might experience pain when eating or drinking foods that are extremely cold or extremely warm. Depending on the severity of their dental problems, seniors might eventually succumb to malnutrition and weight loss. If you notice changes in your loved one’s eating habits, or if he or she seems to be losing weight, make sure he or she receives assistance from a dentist. 

Seniors often need help with a variety of personal hygiene tasks, including those required for good oral health. In New Hampshire, at-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.

6. Saves Money

Having one or more cavities filled is much more cost-efficient than having to endure extractions and replacements. Severe dental problems require multiple appointments, which adds to the cost. Seniors need to perform regular oral care. Regular checkups give dentists the chance to find problems before they become serious and costly. 

If your loved one needs help managing oral hygiene tasks or other activities of daily living, consider hiring a professional caregiver. The in-home care services 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. Call Home Care Assistance at (603) 471-3004 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.

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