Oral Care Affects Your Dad’s Health in Surprising Ways

National Dental Hygiene Month is a great time to talk to your dad about his oral health. Does he go for regular cleanings and exams? If he doesn’t, it’s important that he knows he’s not alone. About one out of four older adults don’t go to the dentist.

After retirement, many older adults move to Medicare, and Medicare coverage doesn’t include oral care except in limited situations. It’s a separate policy that has to be purchased individually. The NIH reports that 23% of adults 65 or older haven’t been to the dentist in five or more years. Just under 57% have been in the past year.

Not going to the dentist puts your dad at risk. A dental visit is important to check for oral cancer. Each year, around 45,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed. The risk increases for your dad if he smokes or uses chewing tobacco.

Plus, there’s gum disease that affects two out of five adults. Gum disease can lead to infection, tooth loss, and loss of jaw bone.

What’s important for your dad to know is that poor oral care can affect his health in other ways. These are the things he needs to consider when it comes to oral care.

It Can Impact His Diet

Personal Care at Home Wilmette, IL: Oral Health

Personal Care at Home Wilmette, IL: Oral Health

If your dad’s teeth have cavities or he’s losing teeth to decay, it can make it harder for him to eat some of the healthiest food options. Should he reach a point where he needs soft foods, he won’t be able to eat raw fruits and vegetables easily.

When he’s eating foods that are soft, he may not be getting the right nutrients. If he can’t chew an apple for a snack, is he turning to softer cookies or yogurts that are full of sugar instead?

Links Between Poor Oral Health and Diabetes and Heart Disease

Diabetes can lead to high blood sugar levels and that increases your risk for gum disease. It comes down to a symptom of diabetes known as dry mouth. When there is less saliva to flush away bacteria from the teeth and gums, gum disease is more likely.

How is poor oral care linked to heart disease? When you have poor oral care and gum disease occurs, the inflammation can lead to inflammation within the blood vessels. Inflamed blood vessels can impact heart health.

Make Sure He Takes Care of His Teeth and Gums

Does your dad brush his teeth twice a day and floss once? Why not? If he is having a hard time holding a toothbrush or floss, invest in an electric toothbrush that is easier to grip. Flossing devices that have a rounded handle may help.

Personal care at home aides can help your dad with oral care. His caregiver can brush and floss his teeth, schedule dental cleanings and exams, and help him shop for oral care products. Talk to a personal care at home specialist to learn more.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Personal Care at Home in Wilmette, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.


Jamie Shapiro