Dental health tends to naturally deteriorate as you grow older, which can significantly affect overall health. This is because of the various changes which occur within the body. If you don’t take care of your teeth and gums, you’ll soon run into oral health problems such as periodontitis or gum disease; this can then lead to more severe issues, like diabetes or heart disease.
The following is a list of reasons as to why you should take your oral health seriously:
- Reduces Need To Wear Dental Appliances Early
While it’s important to equip yourself with the right knowledge as to the best dental solution for missing teeth by comparing dental implants vs dentures, practicing good oral hygiene and regular dental visits will help to reduce the need to wear dental appliances; they may be necessary when you’re older, but there’s no need for you to have to start wearing them young.
- Helps To Avoid Life-Threatening Infections
Poor oral health may lead to all sorts of infections, such as root decay, gum disease, pneumonia, and cardiac health problems. The really dangerous ones are the difficult-to-treat infections, such as heart disease and pneumonia, which are the leading cause of death among seniors associated with poor dental health.
Here’s how poor oral health may lead to deadly infections:
- Bacteria and disease-causing microorganisms grow in the mouth and spread through the capillaries or small blood vessels in the oral cavity, going to the lungs and heart via the blood.
- Bacteria in the mouth enters your body as you inhale or ingest food.
- Infections caused by poor dental health are usually diagnosed late because of missed dental appointments. Also, seniors experience pains which disrupt physical activity, including going to the dentist, which eventually leads to oral health issues.
- Reduces Risk of Diabetes
Aside from infection, poor dental health may spike your blood glucose levels. According to the ADA, 50% of the adult US population (30 years old and above) has gum disease or periodontitis, and 60% of seniors ages 60 and older.
Gum disease may lead to diabetes, due to disruption of the pancreatic molecules responsible for blood sugar regulation. Individuals suffering from severe gum disease have a much higher tendency to experience spikes in blood sugar levels. Periodontitis must be prevented and treated to control blood sugar, so regular dental cleanings are very important.
- Prevents Dry Mouth And Malnutrition
Older people tend to take maintenance drugs for chronic health problems, such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol levels. These medications can sometimes cause dry mouth, which prevents saliva from helping to protect you against tooth decay and oral infections.
Chronic dry mouth may result in cavities and gum disease. As you age, regular dental visits are crucial to control dry mouth. If left untreated, you’ll be at risk of developing malnutrition, because eating becomes more difficult due to oral pain and other dental health problems.
- Reduces Risk Of Oral Cancer
A sore that doesn’t heal or a growth in the mouth is the most common sign of oral cancer, which is closely linked to cigarette smoking and chewing tobacco. Early dental assessment is crucial to help detect oral cancer.
Tips To Maintain Good Oral Health As You Age
Now that you know the most important reasons why oral health is important, it’s time to look at the best ways to take care of your teeth and gums. Here are some expert tips to promote good dental health:
- Brush Your Teeth And Gums Twice A Day: Using an electric toothbrush will help to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums. If you feel pain whenever you brush, you should switch to an anti-sensitivity toothpaste.
- Regularly Floss Your Teeth: Daily flossing is highly advised for seniors. Make sure to floss under your gums and in-between teeth.
- Clean Dentures Every Day: Because dentures attract bacteria, make sure to clean them daily using a specially designed cleansing liquid formula.
- Stop Smoking Cigarettes and Chewing Tobacco: Cigarettes and chewing tobacco promote oral cancer, which is obviously not ideal for good health.
- Regular Dentist Visits: Only a qualified dentist can provide expert advice and treatment, so there’s no substitute for regular visits to their office.
Oral health is important as you age because it helps to prevent various health issues, such as tooth decay, loss of teeth, and gum disease. You also reduce your risk of developing infection, malnutrition, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Take good care of your dental health to prevent chronic and debilitating diseases, and to improve the overall quality of life as you age.