Dental health is one of those things that’s a lot more important than what it might seem at first. Study after study shows that kids who see the dentist with regularity (two times per year) are far less likely to develop serious health issues later on in life. There is a strong link between poor dental health and the development of chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and more. Poor dental health is also linked to things like malnutrition, obesity, and infection. It’s even been linked to social isolation. As parents, we know that it’s important to get the kids in for their regularly scheduled appointments.
But what about our elderly loved ones? It would make sense that we would take the same great strides to help them maintain good levels of health, but dental health is one of those areas that is easily overlooked. In fact, some doctors refer to oral hygiene as a “hidden crisis” because it is such a major player when it comes to senior health, but it’s not something that we think of intuitively when it comes to senior care for our loved ones.
The statistics show us that this isn’t an area that should be glossed over. About one in five seniors does not have any teeth. Two out of every three seniors has some sort of gum disease. One in five seniors has a cavity that has not been treated. And just like with children, poor dental health hurts other parts of health.
There are a lot of theories about why this is. Some have stated that it’s purely a socioeconomic thing. Poorer people don’t take care of themselves, and this leads to poor health across the board. However, while socioeconomic status can play a role in health, this isn’t the main driving force when it comes to dental health. Studies show that even upper class individuals with poor oral hygiene tend to suffer from other health issues, too.
Current research believes that poor dental health can make the body more susceptible to infections and other opportunistic illnesses. When someone doesn’t take care of their teeth, in other words, it opens up a door that lets many other illnesses in. And when it comes to the people that we love, this is something that we want to take every precaution against. After all, the whole point of senior care is to make sure that our elderly loved ones are living the best life that they possibly can while they age. Encouraging good dental health is a small step that can be taken to help boost the odds of this happening.
It’s one of the many pieces of the senior care puzzle. For many, this is such a complicated thing that they don’t give it the attention that it deserves. If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by the level of care that a family member needs, please feel free to reach out to someone. Whether it’s Paradise In-Home Care or another care organization, someone would love to guide you through the ins and outs of finding the right care service for your unique needs.