Despite what your grandmother may have told you, tooth loss is not a side effect of age. It is the result of oral disease, which can be prevented by good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist. If cared for the right way, your teeth should last a lifetime. Rhode Island home care clients should be particularly vigilant about caring for their mouth, even if tooth loss has already occurred. If you are home bound, see if you can locate a dentist that is able to make home visits.
One motivation for taking care of your teeth is to avoid uncomfortable dentures. Another, that many people do not know, is that your oral health affects other areas of your body; not just your mouth. Problems with your teeth and gums can be linked to diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Speculation being investigated surrounding oral health and other conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, lung conditions, and obesity.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it twice: you need to brush two times a day and floss at least once. Dental hygienists and dentist don’t tell you this for their own health. Brushing and flossing helps the control bacteria found in plaque. The toothbrush can’t do it alone, which is why flossing is important to get the hard to reach places.
It is imperative that seniors visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. Many serious oral diseases can be prevented, such as:
- Gum disease – an infection of the gum tissue that leads to tooth loss; nearly half of 65 – 74 year olds have this condition.
- Oral cancer – red and white patches on the gums or tongue; commonly effects people over 40.
- Dry mouth – decrease in saliva; leads to tooth decay since bacteria and food particles are not rinsed away
Contact a dentist if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Redness and swelling of the gums
- Bleeding gums
- Separation between the tooth and gum
- Sores in your mouth that don’t go away
- Pus around the tooth
- Bad breath
- Lack of taste
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty chewing
- Dentures are too tight or too loose
- Dry, swollen lips
If you have difficult brushing or caring for your teeth, check with your Rhode Island home care personal aid to see if they can offer suggestions or help in some way.
Everyone can use assistance in leading the best life possible. Call MAS Home Care of Rhode Island at 866-404-8325 for more information about services available for your loved one. MAS caregivers specialize in Alzheimer’s and dementia care and provide assistance for chronically ill and disabled individuals.