It has been said that the mouth is a “reflection of general health.” The prevalence of chronic ailments and physical or mental limitations in older persons makes them more susceptible to oral disorders or diseases.
The overall health of your mouth depends on the maintenance of your teeth. Every senior should include it in their everyday regimen. The elderly should ideally have access to routine dental services. While traveling to and from dentist clinics can be difficult, receiving dental treatment at home is simple.
Any area can be made into a temporary dental office, even a house or an assisted living facility.
Oral health and systemic effects in the elderly
Infection in the mouth and overall health are tightly associated. With tooth decay and gum disease having connections to many of the chronic medical issues that older people deal with, such as cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and respiratory disorders, the mouth serves as a portal for disease. Most cases of oral cancer are discovered in older people.
Diabetes increases the likelihood of developing gum disease and mouth infections like thrush. Gum disease is made worse by uncontrolled diabetes. Gum disease triggers a systemic inflammatory response that aggravates diabetes and raises the risk of cardiovascular problems.
Multiple joints are affected by the chronic inflammatory auto-immune illness known as rheumatoid arthritis. Xerostomia is a common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. Dental caries and periodontal disorders are made more likely by decreased salivary flow and changes in salivary content. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop periodontitis and caries.
Poor dental health has been associated with aspiration pneumonia. It is a factor in older people’s avoidable hospital admissions and deaths.
The mouth acts as a reservoir for recurrent lower respiratory tract infections due to the buildup of dental plaque and bacterial colonization of the teeth, gums, tongue, and dentures. The prevalence of tooth decay, gum disease, dry mouth, and swallowing issues makes this worse.
Many of the drugs recommended for elderly individuals frequently have a side effect called dry mouth. It is an unpleasant situation. The capacity to talk, taste, chew, and swallow food are all impacted by dry mouth. It makes aspiration pneumonia, mouth infections, and tooth decay more likely.
What dental health concerns should an older person be aware of?
In your senior years, your dental health may experience some problems, even if you consistently brush and floss.
- Cavities and Decay:
The root surface of the teeth is more susceptible to cavities and decay in older persons. Certain foods are broken down by the bacteria on your teeth when you consume them, creating acids that can badly harm the hard tissues of your teeth. The outcome is the development of dental caries (cavities).
As one gets older, sensitivity may become a bigger issue. As you age, your gums gradually recede, exposing tooth surfaces that are not covered in enamel. Cold or hot foods or beverages can cause pain in certain locations more than other places. Consult your dentist, as the sensitivity could be a sign of a more serious issue, such as a cavity or a cracked or chipped tooth.
- Periodontal Diseases:
The gums and bone that surround and support the teeth become infected or swollen, which leads to periodontal disorders. The gums can swell, get red, and bleed during gingivitis’s early stages. The gums may tear away from the tooth in its more severe form, called periodontitis, which can also lead to bone loss, loosening, or even loss of the teeth.
- Edentulism or Tooth loss:
The medical term for having one or more missing teeth as well as being completely or partially toothless is edentulism. Full edentulism is the loss of every tooth, while partial edentulism is the loss of certain teeth but not all of them.
Edentulism, or the lack of a functional dentition, brought on by tooth loss, impairs nutrient intake and increases the risk of malnutrition. Losing a tooth can have a detrimental effect on one’s quality of life in terms of oral health, self-esteem, and social standing.
Dental Treatment for older people
Fluoride treatments can sometimes stop a cavity in its tracks in its very early stages and help repair the enamel of your teeth. Fluoride levels in professional fluoride treatments are higher than those in tap water, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Fluoride dental treatment can be applied to your teeth as a liquid, gel, foam, or varnish with a brush or in a little tray that fits over your teeth.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth to improve its appearance and restore its size, shape, and strength.
The following circumstances may necessitate the use of a dental crown:
- Preserving pieces of a shattered tooth together or preventing a weak tooth from shattering (due to decay, for example)
- To repair a tooth that has been cracked or is badly damaged.
- When a tooth only has a small amount of dental structure remaining, to support and cover it with a big filling
Root Canal Therapy (RCT):
Instead of extracting a severely decayed or broken tooth, a root canal procedure can save and heal it. Cleaning the canals inside the tooth’s root is what gives the phrase “root canal” its meaning. Years ago, root canal procedures were frequently uncomfortable. A temporary filling is put in the crown after root canal therapy to safeguard the tooth and keep saliva and debris out. Do not chew or bite on the tooth until it has had permanent treatment and restoration.
Dental implants are the best option for replacing missing teeth. A dental implant is a post made of titanium that resembles a tooth root and is surgically inserted into the jawbone below the gum line. The implantologist can then attach a crown to the top of the post to mimic the appearance of a genuine tooth. The most realistic, long-lasting solution for restoring the functionality of your smile is to use implants, which feel, look, and act just like genuine teeth.
Why is it a good idea to treat senior citizens at home?
Research indicates that elderly people prefer to remain at home for as long as possible despite age-related ailments and changes in their health, mobility, and cognition. Making numerous trips to distant dental offices could be problematic for the elderly population. As a result, many people neglect to maintain good dental hygiene and forgo routine exams. There are now more comfortable ways to treat common issues like toothaches and the inability to chew as we age. With advancing age come mobility problems, which have led to an explosion of handy home care services throughout the city, ranging from grocery delivery to dental treatment services at home. There are many reasons why treating senior citizens at home is a good idea.
- SAFETY, EASE AND CONVENIENCE:
The patient’s comfort is the primary benefit of choosing home health care. According to research, elderly patients recover more quickly and safely at home than in hospitals. Family-like surroundings, one’s own room, bed, and bathroom, as well as ongoing familiar faces, all contribute to the patient’s recovery. Elders can also stick to their habits and keep a sense of normalcy.
- MINIMIZES UNNECESSARY HOSPITAL VISITS:
Dental treatment at home can manage discomfort, give injections and drips, and help avoid falls. Regular vitals monitoring and ongoing care services are provided by the medical experts at home to treat patients.
- Cost-effective AND ACCESIBLE:
For older patients, hospital dental treatment, especially post-operative recuperation, takes longer. This can cause the wallet to get burned. According to studies, home health care costs are significantly lower than hospital care. Additionally, it relieves family members of the emotional strain of managing daily life and employment.
- TO ASSIST WITH HYGIENE NEEDS:
Going to the bathroom or maintaining personal hygiene will be challenging for someone who is bedridden or unable to move around freely. As they might not be able to carve out enough time for taking care of ordinary tasks, this is a huge support to the family members.
TO AVOID TRAUMAS AND INJURIES:
Seniors frequently have poor balance and diminished physical capabilities, which increases their risk of accidents and falls while performing daily tasks. Additionally, people who are ill or bedridden are considerably more likely to sustain bodily harm when engaging in daily activities. And when they take a step forward to carry out basic daily tasks, sick and immobile people are considerably more susceptible to physical damage.
For both the elderly and the rest of the family, receiving treatment at home can be a huge comfort. Therefore, having a caretaker at home helps protect the elderly from health risks such slips, fractures, falls, and broken bones and ensures safety.
Dental treatment at home is a boon for the elderly and also to their family members, as it provides an opportunity to get proper dental treatment for a surgery or injury. With the help of trained professionals, they can heal at home. The comfort of home and the presence of loved ones can hasten the healing process.
Doc-Home India also provides the facility to receive dental treatment services at home in kolkata , where patients with dental issues have the chance to receive treatment where one’s comfort and convenience are prioritized.