At McKinney Smiles, we understand that aging causes many of us to let our oral health become a secondary priority. Whether due to a lack of dental insurance or a shift in priorities, not enough patients receive senior dental care in McKinney, TX as needed.
Unfortunately, ignoring our oral health during the late stages of life carries the same problems as failing to brush and floss does during our younger years. As we have covered numerous times on our blog, the health of our teeth and gums plays an important role in determining our overall health. So while senior dental care in McKinney, TX may not rank as much of a priority for you now, consider the devastating effects it could have on your health and body as a whole.
Why Senior Dental Care in McKinney, TX Matters
Senior dental problems can range from the common, dry mouth and gum disease, to the uncommon, thrush and inflammatory disease. Since our oral health helps to determine our overall health, these types of health issues need to receive our full attention no matter what our age.
Here are a few reasons why senior dental care really matters:
Studies have found a connection between heart disease and gum disease. Maintaining quality oral hygiene can significantly lower our risk for heart attack, stroke, hypertension, and heart disease. In fact, patients with gum disease have nearly twice the risk of developing heart disease or coronary artery disease when compared to patients without gum disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.
One study even found that the presence of common oral health problems, including cavities, missing teeth, and gum disease, were as effective as predicting a patient’s risk of heart disease as cholesterol levels.
Bottom line: protecting your heart health means protecting your oral health.
Poor oral health has been linked to pneumonia risk in seniors. By inhaling oral bacteria into the lungs, seniors become more susceptible to developing pneumonia. Fortunately, quality oral hygiene regimens can successfully reduce the amount of oral bacteria, which in turn reduces what seniors can inhale.
This is one of the many reasons why seniors in assisted living homes need to receive help when brushing and flossing from nurses and caregivers. This increased risk of disease can be lowered when the proper help is administrated.
Periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, decreases the body’s ability to process insulin. High blood sugar, which is an effect of diabetes, can lead to the type of oral infection that causes gum disease. Fortunately, daily brushing and flossing can help prevent this condition from developing.
As we grow older, our tooth enamel begins to thin, showing off the yellowish colored dentin that lies beneath. Years of eating and drinking acidic foods and enamel staining beverages can take a serious toll on the color and complexion of our smiles, especially if not backed up with quality oral hygiene.
When plaque, a biofilm made of harmful bacteria and food particles that remain after eating, is allowed to build up on the surface of our teeth it contributes to the development of inflammation. This inflammation causes our gums to become swollen, red, tender, and to bleed easily, especially after brushing and flossing. This chronic inflammation also has another name – gum disease.
As mentioned previously, patients with gum disease have a significantly higher risk for developing a range of chronic health conditions that range from stroke and cancer to Alzheimer’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Even if every other health risk on this list is acceptable, the Pandora’s box of health problems developing gum disease opens is reason enough why both seniors and adults alike need to always work to maintain and improve their oral health.