Dental Health and Your Aging Parent

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While many people realize the importance of taking care of their teeth and gums, they do not realize the correlation that tooth decay and gum disease have with other diseases. As people age, this Caregiver-in-Bellville-OHconnection only becomes more prominent. As a family caregiver, it’s important to know the consequence of poor dental hygiene and stress the importance of good dental hygiene to your loved one.

Poor Dental Health and Diabetes

Uncontrolled blood glucose levels increases the risk for both gingivitis and periodontitis—gum disease in both early and late stages. This correlation between diabetes and dental health appears to work both ways. Serious gum disease, like all infections, can cause blood sugar to rise. In order to maintain the best health possible, it’s important to maintain the proper blood sugar levels through correct diet, exercise and medication as well as maintaining good oral health by brushing teeth twice a day, flossing and regular visits to the dentist.

Poor Dental Health and Heart Disease

For many years, the debate has remained among doctors and dentists whether there is a correlation between oral health and heart disease. According to a study conducted in 2012, “Experts from the American Heart Association reviewed the available scientific evidence and concluded that poor oral health hasn’t been proved to cause heart disease — and that treating existing gum disease hasn’t been proved to reduce the risk of heart disease.” On the other side of the equation are dentists such as Scott Merrill, “I absolutely believe there is a strong correlation between oral disease and heart function.” Why? Because inflammation leads to atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. Periodontal disease leads to bacteria invasion and inflammation along and under the gum line. This can then spread into the bloodstream, causing inflammation throughout the body.  Whatever side you’re on, keeping teeth and gums healthy is vital.

Dry Mouth is Prevalent among the Elderly

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is often due to medications, both over-the-counter and prescribed. It affects 30 percent of individuals over 65 years of age. Besides the personal discomfort, this disease can also lead to tooth decay and gingivitis. If your elderly parent suffers from this, recommend drinking sips of water throughout the day and limiting alcoholic beverages as well as drinks containing sugar or caffeine. Be sure to let their doctor know as a change in medications, dose, or time they are taken may help.

 

If you are considering hiring caregiver services in Bellville, Ohio, call the caring staff at Central Star Home Health at (419) 610-2161.  Providing services for families in Mansfield, Lexington, Bellville, Mt. Gilead, Loudonville, Crestline, Galion, Shelby, Ashland, Wooster, and the surrounding areas.

 

Resources

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/heart-disease-prevention/faq-20057986

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/periodontal-disease-heart-health#1

 

About the author: Tracy Clark
Tracy began working for Star Multi Care as the Administrator of the Mansfield, Ohio office in March, 2012. In January, 2014 she was relocated to Florida to assume the role as Branch Administrator of the Pembroke Pines and subsequently the Home Health Liaison until coming back to Ohio in June, 2015. Prior to working at Star Multi Care, Tracy attended Marion Technical School for Business Administration and served as a United States Army Medic during Desert Shield. However, her true life’s work was awakened while spending 12 years in the long term care and assisted living arena. She quickly learned that assisting older adults was a passion that could not be denied. Tracy takes pride in being able to meet with each of her clients upon admission. Getting to know each of them enables her to personalize the care they receive and to direct her staff to ensure they receive the highest quality of care. In addition to her role as Home Health Liaison, Tracy has always been active in her community. She has served on the Salvation Army Advisory Board as Secretary, is a Certified Salvation Army National Disaster Responder, one of 1500 Specialists in 50 states to complete Mather LifeWays “PREPARE” training which trains professionals to address the medical and psychosocial needs of elderly residents affected by emergency situations, a member of the Advisory Committee for the Clinical Care Specialist Program at Madison Adult Career Center and is a member of various professional organizations throughout southeast Florida.