Protecting your teeth and gums is important at any age, but especially so for seniors. Health overall can quickly and easily decline as we age, and this is no different when it comes to the mouth. Seniors are at much greater risk of oral health problems than younger people, so it's even more critical for them or their caregivers to practice good oral hygiene.
Seniors over 60 are likely to have experienced loss of a few teeth, with around three quarters due to decay, gum disease, or a number of many other reasons. In that same age range, about a quarter of seniors have some severe form of gum disease that requires medical treatment.
One of the most common causes for these ailments is a dry mouth. Dry mouth can be caused by many common medications the elderly must take to stay healthy in other ways, like oxybutynin and loperamide. With a dry mouth, you have an increased likelihood of gum disease and tooth decay without saliva to stave off bacteria growth, meaning solving one problem can lead to many others.
To prevent this, seniors should remember to stay hydrated and practice healthy oral care. Brushing twice a day and focusing on the gums isn't just for kids after all. Additionally, chewing a sugar-free gum can help to increase saliva production and exercise the jaw muscles.
As you are learning to deal with the changes that aging can bring, be patient with yourself, patient with your loved one, seek advice and answers to questions, and remember you are not in this alone. Contact a Caring Senior Service team member today!