Good Dental Hygiene Helps Keep Seniors Healthy

As the news of coronavirus (COVID-19) swirls around us with seniors being a very vulnerable population, it is important to remember that one of the basics to staying healthy is good dental hygiene. Dental health is connected to whole-body health, so make sure you make it a priority.   
To follow are some of the conditions poor dental health has been connected to, all conditions that make seniors even more susceptible to complications from illness, whether it is COVID-19, flu, or other illnesses. .

  • Pneumonia. Breathing bacterial droplets from the mouth to the lungs can cause seniors to be more susceptible to pneumonia. By brushing and flossing regularly, you are combating the presence of bacteria in the mouth.
  • Heart Disease. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy protects against heart attacks, strokes, and other heart disease conditions.  There is one study that found that the presence of gingivitis (gum disease), cavities and missing teeth was as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.
  • Diabetes. Periodontitis is severe gum disease, and it can hinder the body’s ability to use insulin. High blood sugar can lead to gum infection. Good oral hygiene accompanied by regular check-ups can help prevent these issues.

Seniors can keep their dental health in good shape by doing the following:

  • Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Using an electric toothbrush can be helpful for those who have arthritis or other conditions that make it difficult to brush with a regular toothbrush.
  • Floss twice a day with dental floss or a water flosser.
  • Use a toothpaste that has fluoride.
  • Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash such as Listerine® at least once a day.
  • Drink plenty of tap water, which contains fluoride and helps prevent tooth decay
  • If you have dentures, make sure you remove them at night and clean them daily.
  • If you smoke, now is definitely the time to stop. Smoking causes problems with your lungs, cancer, gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss.

It’s also very important to schedule you dental exam/cleaning twice a year with Enlighten Dental Care, so we can help you maintain your dental health and keep your whole body as healthy as possible.

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