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Oral Health in the Elderly

Oral health is a key indicator of overall health, well-being and quality of life.  The impact of poor oral health in our vulnerable elderly cannot be underestimated or overlooked.  Untreated abscesses, dirt-flecked dentures, tooth decay and gum disease are a few of the impacts of not taking care of teeth, gums and mouths.  In addition, chronic oral infection can complicate the medical management of diabetes, chronic heart failure and respiratory diseases, as well as leading to potentially deadly conditions such as malnutrition or pneumonia.  The elderly are at high risk of developing dental disease, affecting their comfort, ability to eat and socialise as well as compromising their general health.

 

Symptoms of poor Oral Health

  • Suffering from toothaches
  • Red & swollen gums
  • Loose, brittle teeth
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Indigestion – through not chewing food enough

 

Prevention

  • Routinely brush, floss and use mouthwash to prevent gum disease.
  • Regularly change toothbrushes or clean dentures correctly.
  • Watch your diet. It’s important to avoid foods high in saturated or trans-fats.  Follow a healthy diet including fresh fruit and vegetables as well as plenty of fibre.
  • Make regular trips, at least twice a year, to the dentist for routine checks.
  • Don’t smoke, smokers have a higher risk of developing oral cancer and gum problems, also the risk of complications after tooth extractions and gum or oral surgery increases.

 

Diagnosis

If you suspect your elderly loved one may have issues with their teeth and/or gums don’t delay, visit a dentist. This can then be confirmed through a physical examination of their mouth and possible x-rays.

Elderly patients  may show increased sensitivity to drugs used in dentistry, including local anaesthetics and analgesics.

Our elderly deserve to live free of oral pain to maintain a comfortable and fulfilling life.

 

At Homestyle we work with our elders, their families and medical practioners and support services to ensure our residents health and well-being is prioritised.

If you would like more details or to contact one of our homes please call us on (03) 9559 0400 or email us here.

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