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5 Primary Oral Health Issues in Seniors

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Maintaining oral health is important for a senior’s overall wellbeing, but it’s often overlooked. You need to stay on top of your aging loved one’s oral health because many conditions common during the senior years can negatively impact the mouth. If left untreated, oral health concerns can lead to bigger issues that could potentially impair your loved one’s health. These are the five most common oral health issues seniors face.

1. Dry Mouth

Roughly 40 percent of all seniors experience dry mouth, which might sound like a harmless condition, but saliva plays a very important role in oral health. Seniors who develop dry mouth can end up with cracking lips and tongues, gum lesions, and increased cavity risk. Dry mouth is often caused by medications, so check the side effects listed on your loved one’s medicines. Seniors who have dry mouth need to take frequent sips of water throughout the day to manage the condition.

2. Cavities

Seniors have a higher cavity risk due to a combination of lifestyle and health concerns. Dry mouth can lead to cavities, and another issue is that many seniors live with physical and cognitive impairments that make it difficult to maintain oral hygiene. Switching to a senior-friendly electric toothbrush can boost oral hygiene, and you should make sure your loved one is brushing his or her teeth twice a day.

A professional caregiver can be a great asset for seniors who need help with everyday tasks like brushing and flossing their teeth. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Kingwood elderly home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

3. Gum Disease

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among seniors, and it occurs when bacteria hides in pockets beneath the gums, causing infection and inflammation. Over time, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, and the infection starts to damage the underlying bones and tooth roots. Prevention mostly relies on regularly brushing and flossing the teeth. Seniors who already have gum disease need regular dental visits to treat the condition.

4. Oral Cancer

The average age of people with oral cancer is 62. This condition occurs more often in older people because cells have a higher risk of mutating as people age. Seniors can reduce their risk of oral cancer by not using tobacco products and not drinking a lot of alcohol, but it’s still possible to develop it despite these efforts. Be on the lookout for any open sores, whitish patches, or reddened areas in your loved one’s mouth that don’t heal within a few weeks. 

If your loved one is diagnosed with oral cancer or any other serious disease, compassionate help is just a phone call away. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Kingwood seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

5. Root Caries

Root caries is a type of oral lesion that appears at the base of the tooth. It occurs when receding gums expose the root of the tooth, and then the weaker tooth root material decays at a more rapid rate than the rest of the tooth. Root caries typically looks like a small black or brown blotch at the bottom of a tooth. Treating root caries can be as simple as remineralizing the area, or it may require more elaborate dental procedures.

Oral health plays a significant role in overall wellbeing in the senior years. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional in-home care. Kingwood, TX, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at 832-412-1345.