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Importance of Dental Health in Elderly Population


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Learn about keeping inflammation in remission with these helpful dental health tips. These tips are anchored toward senior citizens.

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Published in: Education
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Importance of Dental Health in Elderly Population

  1. 1. Importance of Dental Health in Elderly Population Presentation by Nebraska Family Dentistry
  2. 2. What does it mean to have a healthy mouth? According to the latest research, these are the things we discuss with patients: ∙ Taking Probiotics ∙ Taking Vitamin D/ Vitamin C ∙ Flossing Daily ∙ Brushing ∙ Drinking lots of water ∙ Not drinking anything with acids: pop, sport drinks, juices ∙ Getting professional cleanings ∙ Eating fresh, unprocessed foods
  3. 3. The challenges we encounter as dental professionals is that only a few patients actually do these things. We see dental problems every day. Following those guidelines for a healthy mouth becomes a real challenge among our elderly patients.
  4. 4. “ Today is about : ∙ Connecting the importance of dental health to overall health. ∙ Giving you tips on how to help elderly patients have optimal dental health and how to recognize a potential problem at hand.
  5. 5. Dental and Overall Health Connection Explained Lately in the news we have heard many messages about dental health and the relationship to overall health. According to the latest research, it is more than that. It is about our mouth being a main source of bacteria: good, bad and a mis-balance can lead to the Acute or Chronic Inflammation which in turn, can affect overall well-being.
  6. 6. Inflammation in the Mouth More than 500 species of bacteria can be found in the oral cavity of a healthy mouth. They can be beneficial or harmful to the health of your mouth. The “good” bacteria, also referred to as probiotics, can aid in digestion, synthesize vitamins, and protect our mouths from the “bad” bacteria. The bad bacteria is often what causes diseases as well as various mouth-related health problems. Some of which may include bad breath, gingivitis, periodontitis, cavities, and plaque build-up. Taking note of the bacteria and toxin levels in our mouths isn’t just crucial for the health of our mouths, but our entire bodies. Infections and bacterial overgrowth in the mouth can affect the entire body, moving throughout and causing other health problems such as heart disease, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, and low birth weight. Disbalance of bacteria is the reason for: ● Acute Vs. Chronic inflammation ● Chronic inflammation can ultimately increase systemic inflammatory markers.
  7. 7. The mouth is a window into our body Taking good care of teeth and gums is not only about preventing cavities, gum disease or bad breath. It is about preventing inflammation in our mouth and preventing overall health problems associated with this inflammation. The most common signs we see in the oral cavity that are associated with an increase of systemic inflammation are gingivitis, periodontal disease and generalized cavities.
  8. 8. Dental and Overall Health Connection Explained Research is showing a relationship between periodontitis and other inflammatory conditions like RA, celiac disease, thyroid disease, heart disease, atherosclerosis, type 1 diabetes and Alzheimer’s. These conditions share autoimmune characteristics, but which came first? Is there a causal link between them? The answer is not yet clear. We do know that in patients with uncontrolled periodontal disease or decay, we see an increase in certain conditions: ● Endocarditis ● Cardiovascular disease ● Respiratory Bacteria can be aspirated into the lungs and cause bronchitis, emphysema, and pneumonia. ● Osteoporosis ● Sjogren's syndrome ● Alzheimer’s disease ● GI problems Those conditions correlated with an increase in oral inflammatory markers.
  9. 9. What occurs as people age? The top three things affected in geriatric patients and oral health. ● Decreased Dexterity: Inability to brush and floss. ● Dry mouth due to medications taken. ● Ill fitting dentures. If any of the conditions mentioned happen, there is a mis-balance of bacteria leading to more harmful bacteria. Therefore, increasing the likelihood of certain conditions: ● Dry mouth ● Periodontal disease ● Candida in the mouth ● Ulcers
  10. 10. ● Decreased salivary flow is a common side effect of most medications. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over 400 commonly used medications can contribute to dry mouth.
  11. 11. Let’s go over some common dental problems we see in elderly patients. I will also give you ideas of easy ways that you can help the elderly prevent and recognize dental problems. Basically, it’s helping them decrease the bad bacteria and increase the good bacteria. Some of them may apply and some may not...
  12. 12. Problem #1 | Decay on teeth: Solution: See a dentist because most cavities do not hurt and actually have no symptoms unless, it reaches the nerve of the tooth. Many teeth have nerve space that shrinks over time and cavities may never hurt unless there is an abscess that forms. ∙ Brushing daily to prevent more cavities. ∙ Using a special toothbrush for patients with poor dexterity. 12 decay on teeth or failing dental work
  13. 13. Problem #2 | Acute Inflammation-Gingivitis: Solution: Gingivitis is easily reversible by controlling the plaque. Brushing thoroughly twice daily, flossing and receiving professional cleanings regularly can reverse gingivitis within just a few days. ∙ Brushing daily to prevent more cavities. ∙ Using a special toothbrush for patients with poor dexterity. 13 presents due to plaque accumulation around the gum-line which is constantly forming on the teeth
  14. 14. Problem #3 | Chronic Inflammation-Chronic Periodontitis: Solution: To treat Periodontal Disease ∙ Complete the deep cleaning treatment at the dentist office. ∙ Regular daily plaque control at home, including brushing and flossing. ∙ Using a special toothbrush for patients with poor dexterity. ∙ Take probiotics, vitamin D and drink lots of water. ∙ Have maintenance cleanings at the dentist office every 3-4 months to keep periodontal disease in remission. 14 Chronic inflammation is due to imbalance of bacteria leading to bone loss
  15. 15. Problem #4 | Bad Breath: Solution: Using coconut oil for coconut oil pulling The antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties of the medium chain fatty acids/triglycerides (MCTs) found in coconut oil make it a perfect solution to inactivate microorganisms, such bacteria, yeast, fungi and enveloped viruses. ∙ Listerine is not a good choice as it dries mouth even further. ∙ Drink more water. ∙ Tongue scraping. ∙ Take probiotics. ∙ See a MD for GI problems. 15 Overpopulation of bad bacteria from failing dental work or gum disease
  16. 16. Problem #5 | White patches in a mouth/Candida Solution: Depending on the severity A. Severe Cases treated with antifungal prescription B. Not so severe treated with coconut oil as it can dramatically reduce white patches. 16 ∙ Tongue scraping ∙ Taking Probiotics Fungal infection caused by overgrowth of candida albicans. More likely to occur in patients with reduced immunity.
  17. 17. Problem #6 | Red ulcerated areas under dentures Solution: See a dentist to adjust partial or denture. Orabase or orajel can help with areas of sensitivity or pain. 17 Ill fitting denture
  18. 18. Problem #7 | Ill Fitting Denture Solution: ∙ To keep partials as long as possible to allow retaining of HEALTHY natural teeth. ∙ To avoid dentures for the elderly. ∙ To learn about implant retained dentures and Hybrid Prosthesis. 18 Bone loss due to wearing dentures and not having implants
  19. 19. It is never too late. The Story of Dan: When Dan came to see Dr. Brad Alderman, he was complaining of soreness in his mouth and had a desire to extract his remaining teeth. From talking to his friends and family, Dan knew he did not want traditional dentures. Dan was looking for a permanent replacement of his teeth. He wanted to have something that would look and feel like the natural teeth he used to have. Besides wanting a permanent solution for replacing his teeth, his health was affected by his remaining infected teeth. Dan’s physician suggested removing the teeth as soon as possible to eliminate the bacteria and inflammation. Dan’s doctor was positive that removing the diseased teeth would improve Dan’s health.”
  20. 20. It is never too late. (continued) Dan proceeded with the hybrid prosthesis. In his recent check up appointment, he stated: “It took about two weeks after the implant placement for my implant bridges to feel better. After two weeks, I started having more energy, and the general drowsiness was gone. I had an easier time controlling my diabetes and my doctor confirmed it with a blood test. I enjoy eating with my new teeth, and it is great to know that I do not have to use any denture glue or have a cup to put my dentures in overnight.”
  21. 21. Problem #8 | Red Tongue Solution: Visit dentist and physician to verify cause of red tongue. 21 Increase in bacteria and inflammation. Caused from folic acid, B12, or iron deficiency.
  22. 22. Problem #9 | Oral sore that does not heal Solution: See your dentist to verify the next step such as a biopsy. 22 Oral cancer or ill fitting denture
  23. 23. Problem #9 | Corners of a mouth dry Solution: Checkin in with a physician to check on deficiency and cause. Vitamin C deficiency is the most common. Apply Vaseline to the corners of the mouth. Check for an ill fitting denture. Patient may be over closing due to poor fitting denture. Inflammation leading to redness and cracks on the corner of the mouth. Usually due to deficiency in vitamin D and C.
  24. 24. Brought to you by Nebraska Family Dentistry Find more information at