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Senior Smiles: The Importance of Oral Hygiene in the Golden Years


As we age, our teeth and gums become more susceptible to disease and decay, making oral hygiene even more important for seniors. One of the most common oral health issues among seniors is periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Not only can it lead to tooth loss and other serious health complications, but it has also been linked to other chronic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and more.


"You don't stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing," said humorist Michael Pritchard. And while laughter is important for overall health, so is a healthy smile.


According to the American Dental Association, periodontal disease affects up to 50% of adults over the age of 55. It is also linked to other chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The American Academy of Periodontology states that "people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease."


It's not just your heart that is at risk either. Studies have found that people with periodontal disease are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

"A healthy mouth is a window to your overall health," says Dr. Richard H. Price, a spokesman for the American Dental Association.


To support holistic health and senior well-being, it is important for seniors and caregivers to take steps to prevent and manage periodontal disease. Here are the top three things that seniors and caregivers can do to support oral hygiene:

  1. Brush and floss regularly: Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is essential for removing plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gums.

  2. Visit the dentist regularly: Regular dental checkups and cleanings can help detect and prevent periodontal disease.

  3. Eat a healthy diet: A diet high in sugar and processed foods can contribute to plaque buildup and tooth decay. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help promote healthy teeth and gums.

Oral hygiene is essential for seniors and caregivers to promote overall health and well-being. Periodontal disease is a common oral health issue among seniors and is linked to other chronic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and more. By taking steps to prevent and manage periodontal disease, seniors and caregivers can support holistic health and senior well-being. "A smile is a curve that sets everything straight," said humorist Phyllis Diller. Let's make sure our senior loved ones are keeping their curves in check with proper oral hygiene.

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