According to the American Dental Association, dental disease is one of the most popular reasons for emergency room (ER) and medical visits in the United States. For older adults, medical treatments and common types of chronic illnesses like diabetes can put them at a greater risk of facing dental-related health problems.
Despite these, access to dental care for mature adults remains to be an unresolved issue. Upon retirement, these citizens can no longer enjoy benefits for dental care, and dental care expenses are not reimbursed by Medicare. On top of that, physical disabilities and age-related cognitive issues such as memory loss could further contribute to poor oral health or missed dental check-ups.
Learn about the consequences caused by poor dental care and how you can play a part in helping your family members brush up on their oral hygiene.
Five Health Problems Brought on by Poor Dental Care
- Gum disease
During severe stages of gum disease, also known as periodontitis, some of the complications that patients can suffer from are bleeding gums, tooth loss, and chewing problems.
- Heart disease
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, when left untreated, gum inflammation caused by gum disease can put your loved ones at a greater risk of contracting heart disease.
- Tooth loss
This can affect the intake of nutrition as older adults with missing teeth have greater difficulty consuming fresh food options such as vegetables.
- Tooth decay
Plaque is a film of bacteria that forms on the surface of the tooth. If oral hygiene is neglected, it can bring harm to the tooth enamel and cause cavities. To combat this, the production of saliva can protect the teeth and reduce bacteria. However, for older adults who consume certain drugs such as medication for high blood pressure, a common side effect would be dry mouth. This leads to lower production of saliva, making mature adults at greater risk of getting cavities.
People with poor oral hygiene, especially smokers, are at an elevated risk of contracting bacterial pneumonia.
Improving Dental Care
Here are ways you can use to help your loved ones receive good dental care:
- Set reminders for your loved ones to floss and brush twice every day with a fluoridated toothpaste. If you are concerned that your loved ones have difficulties caring for themselves due to memory issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, you have come to the right place. Here at Rittenhouse Village, we provide SHINE® Memory Care program for older adults by delivering health and wellness programs to promote engagement and lifestyle quality for your loved ones.
- Set up dental appointments for your loved ones. It is recommended to visit the dentist at least once annually for teeth cleaning. Regular visits to the dentists can help to monitor their dental health and prevent dental problems. If your family member is staying in an inaccessible location with medical facilities miles away, Rittenhouse Village At Portage offers varying types of senior living options such as independent living, assisted living, SHINE® Memory Care, and respite care. We provide 24/7 on-site medical care for your loved ones so that you will not have to worry about their well-being.
Taking care of your loved one’s basic living needs such as oral health is of paramount importance. Should you have any queries about Rittenhouse Village At Portage living programs for your loved ones, do keep in touch with us today.