When it comes to the health of an older adult, there can be a lot of things to think about. This is especially true if your aging relative has a chronic condition, like diabetes or a heart condition. With so many other health concerns to worry about, you may not spend much time worrying about the senior’s oral health. However, there are lots of good reasons to encourage seniors to keep up with taking good care of their mouths. In fact, doctors have identified the following health problems as ones that can be impacted by poor oral health.
Alzheimer’s and Stroke
Studies show that older adults who have severe cases of gum disease are more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, there appears to be a link between gum disease and stroke. In one study, people who had had strokes demonstrated higher levels of specific kinds of bacteria in their saliva.
The lining of the heart is called the endocardium. When it becomes infected, the condition is called endocarditis. It usually occurs because of bacteria from other parts of the body, including the mouth, get into the bloodstream. From there, they attach themselves to parts of the heart that are already damaged.
If your aging relative is admitted to the hospital, it is important that they take care of their mouths while in the hospital. That’s because research indicates that hospital patients who received oral care while in the hospital had a lower rate of hospital-related pneumonia.
According to WebMD, as many as 91 percent of people with heart disease also have gum disease. This may be because the two problems have common risk factors, including smoking, obesity, and a poor diet. However, many doctors also believe that the inflammation caused by gum disease also causes the blood vessels to become inflamed. This increases blood pressure and the risk of heart attack.
Blood Sugar Levels
Not only are people with diabetes more prone to developing gum disease, gum disease also makes it harder for diabetics to keep their blood sugar levels under control. People with diabetes benefit from regular oral health care because it can make diabetes easier to control.
Unfortunately, some older adults struggle to care for their teeth and gums because of physical or cognitive disabilities. Dementia can make it hard for seniors to understand the steps involved in brushing their teeth. Older adults who have had a stroke or who have arthritis might have trouble holding a toothbrush. Senior care can help them. Senior care providers can walk people with dementia through the steps of brushing their teeth or hold their hand to help them brush. Senior care providers can also brush the teeth of seniors who do not have full use of their hands. In addition, if your aging relative cannot drive themselves to dental appointments, a senior care provider can offer transportation.
If you are considering senior care in Rolling Meadows, IL for an aging loved one, please call the caring staff at A-Abiding Care today. Serving North and Northwest Chicago and the surrounding area for over 30 years. Call 847-698-1400.