Caring for the Dental Needs of an Elderly Parent

If you take care of an elderly parent, you likely have some concerns about their dental needs. The Dental Anesthesia Center is here to help! Call us today at (314) 862-7844.

There is a direct connection between oral health and overall health. In fact, dental disease is among the most common causes of medical and emergency room visits for the elderly. Seniors are at an increased risk for dental problems due to their medications and common chronic illnesses they deal with, such as heart disease and diabetes.

If you take care of an elderly parent, you likely have some concerns about their dental needs. Access to senior dental care is a problem in the U.S. Dental benefits often stop after a person retires, and Medicare does not provide routine dental care. In addition, many older adults don’t have transportation to get to the dentist, have physical disabilities, suffer from age-related memory loss and other cognitive issues. These obstacles prevent many elderly patients from getting to the dentist and lead to poor dental health.

Reasons to Make Senior Dental Care a Priority

If you are the caregiver of an elderly loved one, it’s important to make their dental health a priority. Consider the following reasons:

  • Tooth decay – Bacteria in the mouth causes plaque which harms the tooth enamel and causes cavities. Saliva helps protect the teeth and reduces bacteria. However, many seniors suffer from dry mouth. They do not produce enough saliva to keep their teeth healthy. This is often due to the medications commonly taken by seniors, such as for depressions, high blood pressure, and asthma.
  • Gum disease – According to the CDC, two out of three seniors 65 and older suffer from gum disease. Periodontitis, or severe gum disease, can lead to numerous problems, like bleeding gums, chewing issues, tooth loss, and other health problems. Gum disease doesn’t often cause symptoms until the disease advances. This is another reason why regular dental exams are so important. These checkups can help prevent gum disease.
  • Tooth loss – Many seniors suffer from tooth loss. Tooth loss can have a detrimental effect on nutrition because it’s harder to eat or enjoy fresh and nutritious food, such as fruit and vegetables.
  • Heart disease – Many people are surprised to discover that inflammation caused by gum disease increases the risk of heart disease. Gum disease can also make certain heart conditions worse and may be associated with a higher risk of stroke.
  • Pneumonia – When seniors have poor dental hygiene, they are at an increased risk of contracting bacterial pneumonia. When excessive bacteria is in the mouth, it can travel to the lungs as a person breathes. Helping an older person maintain good dental health can help prevent this type of pneumonia.
  • Diabetes – Those with poor blood sugar control are at a higher risk for dental issues, like inflammation and gum disease. When too much glucose is in the saliva, bacteria grow more prevalent. Gum disease also affects blood sugar control in diabetic patients.

If you take care of a loved one, we understand that it can be difficult taking care of everything. At The Dental Anesthesia Center, we can help you take care of your loved ones dental health. Schedule an appointment with us today. We look forward to meeting you!

Call Us Today

The Only Board Certified Dental Anesthesiologist in Missouri, including the St. Louis Metro Area.

Call (314) 862-7844
Updated: August 31, 2023

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