New book highlights common oral health problems for the elderly

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY:  A new book suggests lack of proper oral care in nursing homes contributes to other fatal health problems.

Posted: March 30, 2015

A new book by dental expert Angie Stone titled "Dying from Dirty Teeth: Why the Lack of Proper Oral Care Is Killing Nursing Home Residents and How to Prevent It" examines how poor oral care can contribute to the onset of other deadly conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pneumonia and thrush, among other ailments. Stone's research suggests this problem is only getting larger as the senior population increases. According to Stone, in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities, residents, family members and nursing staff are unaware of the ways in which poor oral care affects general well-being.

The book
Stone's work takes research from numerous studies linking oral care to a risk of fatal diseases and puts it within the context of how this specifically affects the elderly. The diseases Stone explores in particular are heart disease, stroke, dementia, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In general, this is a problem for older adults who might not be able to take control of their oral health.

"Oropharyngeal bacteria are wreaking havoc," Stone said in a statement. "These bacteria can be controlled, and typically are controlled by most people through brushing and between the teeth cleaning. However, once people become dependent on others to remove these bacteria, the microbes run wild in the mouth, because they are not being kept at bay on a daily basis with tooth brushing and between the teeth cleaning."

Nursing home residents may be particularly susceptible to bacteria buildup if thorough brushing, flossing and cleanings aren't prioritized. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predicts that by 2030, there will be twice as many people age 65 or older than there were in 2000. As of 2009, seniors represented almost 13 percent of the U.S. population. That said, this issue affects millions of Americans, and simple measures can be taken to better health outcomes for senior citizens. However, the problem has to be addressed as soon as possible.

"There are many challenges and this problem can seem unmanageable, however the circumstances can be turned around so elders are not dying from dirty teeth," states Stone, also in a statement. "This needs to be done sooner than later. The population is aging and our baby boomers are going to be the next generation of dependent adults."

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