How to Avoid Denture-Related Health Problems
The invention of modern dentures has done much to improve quality of life for many, many seniors, even though we don’t often think about them. Dentures make it possible for seniors who have lost teeth due to illness or simple age-related causes to speak, eat, and look much better than they would otherwise. The only downside to this great health and cosmetic asset? They do require a certain level of maintenance to work well over a long period of time, which doesn’t always happen. Doctors warn that neglecting the condition of a senior’s dentures can lead to serious diseases throughout the body.
General Poor Health
When we put a set of dentures to work eating, we realize what an incredible tool a mouth full of natural teeth really is! A senior with dentures typically has a hard time chewing raw fruits and vegetables, which are key parts of a healthy geriatric diet. Avoiding these foods and choosing less healthy options instead is a recipe for nutritional disaster. If dentures are making it difficult to get vitamins and minerals in the form fresh produce, an in-home caregiver or family member may need to come up with other options. Produce can be blended to make a tasty smoothie, and a vitamin supplement might be another possibility.
The need for well-rounded nutrition is not news, but scientists have recently found that poor care of dentures is a factor in the development of two serious diseases. First, a recent project sought to confirm doctors’ suspicions that poorly fitting dentures increase the risk of oral cancer. We have known that dentures raise the risk of cancer for some time, but the new study shows that an incorrect fit makes that risk much greater. Regular checkups and attention to any shift in the dentures’ position in the mouth can help combat this risk.
A brand new study warns that seniors with dentures should remove them before falling asleep. Many denture users simply leave them in for the sake of convenience, but the conclusion of the researchers is that doing so more than doubles the risk for pneumonia. Because pneumonia and other breathing problems are extremely hazardous for elderly patients, the new warnings carry serious weight and should not be ignored.
Other Dental Health Topics
As with so many areas of health, oral health is a matter that requires daily attention. A senior who lives at home alone can easily forget to brush, floss, or properly care for dentures for some time without family members noticing. A compassionate caregiver who is present every day can help ensure that important daily routines don’t fall by the wayside. We look forward to telling you more about what our denturist has to say about proper care.