Connection Between Oral Health and Disease
Oral hygiene is important at any age, but many lack appreciation for just how important it is in our older population. Because of the ties between oral health and overall health, mouth care is critical for the elderly.
Your mouth is teeming with bacteria — most of which are harmless. But your mouth is the entry point to your respiratory and digestive tracts, and some of those bacteria can cause disease. Normal hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing keep the bugs at bay, but insufficient care can lead to a host of health issues.
Insufficient cleaning can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontitis. (Periodontitis is a gum infection that deteriorates the bone structure that supports your teeth. The disease is far more frequent among the elderly: as much as 64 percent of seniors have it.) These infections can spread to other areas of the body and are connected to a variety of other medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Your regular visits are an important opportunity to catch problems early. It’s not just limited to cavities or gum disease; the state of your mouth may serve as an early warning for diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer! Your oral health is a window to your overall health, so don’t forget to schedule your next appointment!