In Switzerland, seniors' oral hygiene has deteriorated in recent years. In fact, it is estimated that at least 30 % of the elderly suffer from oral diseases, with serious repercussions on daily life. What are the consequences of poor oral health? How can they be avoided? The Helvident dental center team shares its advice.
The figures bear witness to this
When it comes to the state of seniors' oral hygiene, the figures are particularly alarming. They show that oral diseases are among the main pathologies affecting the elderly.
The proof is that over 55 % of those placed in retirement homes have lost all their teeth; over 33 % of elderly people living in their own homes have also lost all their teeth.
Since seniors are often subject to cognitive problems, they find it hard to pay attention to their bodies. So it's up to their families and professionals to keep a close eye on their oral hygiene, so that they can maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What are the repercussions of poor oral hygiene for seniors?
It's important to recognize that poor dental health can have serious consequences for the physical and mental health of an elderly person. If left unchecked, dental deterioration can lead to weight loss, weakened muscle mass, brittle bones (osteoporosis), loss of self-esteem and isolation.
A few tips to prevent oral diseases
Generally speaking, senior citizens are more likely to develop oral pathologies such as cavities, tooth loss, gingivitis, loosening of the gums, periodontitis and oral cancer. To help prevent these diseases, here are a few tips to follow:
- Eat less sugar and adopt a healthy, balanced diet to avoid gum recession and cavities.
- Eat fruit and vegetables regularly to prevent oral cancer
- Stop the tobacco consumption to reduce the risk of serious diseases such as oral cancer and gum recession
- Adopt good oral hygiene
- Evolve in an environment conducive to oral health
- See your dentist regularly
The truth is, dental expenses are often too expensive and discourage older people from undergoing treatment. This is why it's a good idea to take out a supplementary health insurance policy at an early age, which offers to reimburse these costs (partially or in full).
A measure to monitor the oral hygiene of senior EMS residents
According to a study by the University of Zurich, the oral health of 95 % of nursing home residents is "poor to very poor". Carried out among around 500 nursing home residents, the study proves that neglecting this aspect of seniors' health can have serious consequences. They can inhale dangerous bacteria that can lead to pneumonia and, in some cases, even death.
The good news is that there are now organizations committed to training caregivers in retirement homes. This enables them to learn the various ways of preventing oral infections and ensuring good dental hygiene for residents. It should be noted that the aim of this measure is to raise awareness and improve the skills of caregivers.
At Helvident, we welcome people of all ages, from children to seniors. Don't hesitate to make an appointment with one of our dental hygienists, dentists or specialists. Our clinics and dental centers are located in Lausanne, Fribourg and Aigle.