The state of the COVID-19 crisis is forcing people of all ages across the United States to reinforce their hygienic practices to their highest standards possible. This also means that protecting your oral health has never been more critical, especially if you’re past a certain age.
According to the World Health Organization, older people, more specifically those over the age of 60 and older, are known to be one of the most vulnerable groups in terms of the pandemic.
Because oral infections can weaken your immune system, emphasizing the importance of maintaining excellent oral health for older adults during this pandemic is key in staying healthy and preventing any unwanted oral complications in the long run.
Eye-opening Oral Health Statistics Among Older Adults
As we age, our body’s defense levels will weaken at fighting off potential intruders from making their way into our immune system. In fact, about 75% of adults ages 60 and above only have some of their original teeth, and about 1 in 5 Americans ages 65 and older have lost all of their original teeth.
If those numbers weren’t staggering enough, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states nearly 2 in 3 adults ages 65 and older currently have gum disease or suffer from some of its complications.
All in all, a weakened immune system from fighting off an oral infection could leave older adults, a group that is vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, even more susceptible.
Major Threats Associated With Poor Oral Health
Besides gum disease and tooth loss, some of the other most notable threats to an older adult’s oral health include:
- Dry Mouth: A dry mouth often promotes the growth of unwanted bacterias, fungi, viruses, and, without proper dental hygiene, tooth decay.
- Root Decay: Root decay occurs via an overexposure of acids through sugary foods and drinks. This condition damages the inner pulp tissue of the tooth, needing a root canal or tooth removal in order to treat it.
- Stomatitis: This condition can be very painful to have as it causes tissue inflammation underneath the dentures.
- Blackened teeth: This condition is caused by some of the food and drinks we consume over time and can lead to enamel thinning, causing blacker-looking teeth.
- Uneven jaws: Severe cases of gum diseases can lead to disoriented and drifted jawlines.
Some diseases can develop if you suffer from any of the aforementioned conditions. It would be best to have an experienced McAllen family dentist inspect these unpleasant symptoms in your mouth to see if they are associated with any oral diseases like:
- Oral Cancer
- Chronic disease
- Heart Disease
Essential Practices to Prevent Unwanted Oral Diseases
When you take the following essentials into practice, you are not only protecting your gums, but also putting in the effort into preventing infections, cavities, and any other unwanted intruders that may compromise your oral health. The best thing anyone can do, especially older adults, is to maintain great dental hygiene by taking the following measures:
- Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride-based toothpaste.
- Floss once a day in order to get rid of those leftover pieces of food or plaque.
- Use non-alcoholic mouthwash approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) to rinse out any leftover bacteria.
- Eat a well-balanced diet that consists of fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, lean proteins, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
- Limit snacking on sugary products to help prevent the risk of developing cavities.
- Wash your hands with hot water before and after brushing your teeth for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid smoking of any kind to decrease the risk of oral cancer and keep an overall healthier mouth.
- Keep up to date with your dental checkups at your local dentist, like your friendly McAllen family dentist at WhiteWing Dental.
In order to ensure that your oral health is in good shape, getting the necessary dental checkups are crucial. You can rest assured knowing that we are taking all precautions necessary for anyone who needs a checkup during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our entire staff is attentive and committed to keeping our offices as clean as possible in order to keep both visitors and staff safe from infection.