Posted October 4, 2016
Over 46 million Americans currently are age 65 and older. By 2060, that number is projected to grow to 98 million. As people age, most experience a variety of physical limitations and health problems. Researchers studying these changes have identified a possible link between poor dental health and mental health.
Here’s an overview of recent studies:
- Dental health concerns – Older people with missing teeth, gum disease or multiple cavities may be at higher risk of experiencing mental decline or dementia. In addition, researchers believe that the bacteria from gum disease can create chronic inflammation that can lead to heart problems.
- Cognitive impairment – About 35 percent of people over age 70 have some type of cognitive issues. Clinical reviews indicate that older people with faulty memories or dementia may experience more oral health problems because they forget to complete daily tooth brushing and flossing tasks, or they can’t recall whether they did so.
Simple ways to maintain good dental health
Dental experts remind Americans of all ages to take care of their teeth for good overall health. It’s important to brush teeth to remove food particles and bacteria-filled plaque from tooth surfaces. Flossing helps loosen food and plaque caught between teeth and along the gum line.
Brushing and flossing tips:
- Brush teeth at least two times each day, two to three minutes each time, after breakfast and at bedtime.
- Plaque can form on teeth within 12 hours and, if not removed, turns into tartar within 24 hours.
- Harmful bacteria can collect on teeth, and in plaque and tartar, causing gum disease.
- Floss at least once daily, at any time, to avoid developing cavities, tartar and gum disease.
- Flossing helps remove harmful plaque and bacteria.
- Floss string may be more effective in covering all tooth surfaces than other flossing tools.
- Schedule regular dental checkups.
- Tartar buildup is as hard as cement and requires a professional cleaning to remove.
When is the last time you visited the dentist for a checkup and professional cleaning? Watch this video to learn how often to schedule checkups and ways to maintain good dental health.