With old age comes a great need to take care of one’s all-around health. With that, it’s also very much important to maintain your oral hygiene as your mouth is amongst the most contaminated parts of the body. Old people are more susceptible to oral cancers, gum problems, tooth decay etc. The digestive system itself begins in the mouth, hence the need to maintain a normal microbial balance on the tongue and teeth. Poor oral health affects one’s ability to chew that can lead to poor nutrition.
It is our responsibility to take good care of our oral health. If you are interested in knowing tips on about the proper ways of taking good care of your dental health, you can read blogs about orthodontics and oral hygiene.
If oral hygiene in elders is not maintained, they are likely to suffer from the following diseases:
• Halitosis: bad breath Reason – Bacteria grow on food particles stuck in the teeth and release harmful chemicals.
• Periodontal disease: affects gums, periodontal ligament, alveolar bone etc. which results in teeth loss. Reason – Plaque builds up calls for body’s immune system to release substances causing inflammation.
• Heart diseases and Atherosclerosis: Clogs Carotid artery, stroke risk increased. Reason – plaque buildup in artery, hence narrow blood vessel.
• Respiratory problems: e.g. Pneumonia. Reason- microbes travel to lungs causing/ worsening of respiratory problems.
• Diabetes: high blood sugar levels. Reason – periodontitis causes an imbalance in insulin usage which leads to poor gum health.
They can be prevented by maintaining proper oral hygiene which involves:
• Brushing teeth and cleaning tongue regularly, twice a day. Use fluoride toothpaste, use electric toothbrush or toothbrush with soft bristles. Plaque buildup creates an environment devoid of oxygen that favors bacterial growth.
• Floss once a day thoroughly.
• Stop smoking/tobacco as it can cause yellowing of teeth, bad breath, plaque growth and increases the risk of oral cancer.
• Avoid beverages. Carbonated and sugar-rich drinks soften tooth enamel and reduce oral pH that promotes bacterial growth and tooth decay.
• Undergo routine oral checkups.
Oral health can directly affect one’s health causing serious issues involving oral cancer and pneumonia. Hence, it is important to maintain oral hygiene to prevent the same.