Bad breath can be a problem for people of any age, but seniors experience changes in their bodies that can make them more susceptible to this condition. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care in Fort Myers, FL, discusses a few of the top causes of bad breath in the elderly and how to prevent them.
Age-Related Changes to the Mouth
As seniors age, saliva production slows, body tissues weaken, and immunity decreases. Having less saliva makes it difficult to wash away food particles and odor-causing bacteria, and weakened tissue means the gums can tear more easily when brushing the teeth or eating. Bacteria can enter gum tissue through these tears, and a reduced immunity makes aging gums more prone to odor-causing infection. Going to routine dental checkups can help maximize your senior loved one’s oral health and minimize bad breath.
Many seniors lose their teeth to gum disease and need to use dentures as a result. Over time, a senior’s gums can change, but dentures remain the same. Ill-fitting dentures can trap food particles, which cause odors as they chemically break down. Proper denture maintenance and routine dental visits can help ensure your loved one’s dentures fit and function optimally, which reduces bad breath.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Whether your loved one has dentures or natural teeth, poor oral hygiene can lead to bad breath. Conditions such as arthritis, stroke, or fatigue can make it difficult to brush and floss, and dementia or reduced vision can cause some seniors to skip oral hygiene altogether. Careful brushing and flossing on a daily basis can help reduce the odor-causing bacteria in your loved one’s mouth.
Due to age-related changes in the thirst center of the brain, seniors do not perceive thirst as readily as younger people. When your loved one drinks less water, odor-producing bacteria are not efficiently washed away from the gums or teeth. Eating water-rich foods like soups and fruit and drinking enough water to maintain pale yellow urine can help wash away the bacteria that causes bad breath.
If your loved one needs help adopting healthier oral hygiene habits, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our dedicated caregivers can assist with grooming and other daily tasks, and they can also drive your loved one to his or her dental checkups. In addition to our part-time and live-in care services, we also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, post-stroke, and Alzheimer’s care Fort Myers, FL, seniors can rely on. For more information on our Fort Myers in-home care services and to schedule a complimentary consultation, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 239.449.4701 today.