Researchers have linked frailty in older men with gum disease.

As we age we undergo many changes in our health. Researchers have linked frailty in older men with gum disease. Periodontal disease can lead to many oral maladies such as bleeding and swollen gums and tooth loss. These situations can make it harder to eat, swallow and even speak. This, in turn, can lead to inadequate nutrition. Elderly people suffering from oral health can be in pain and discomfort. It can be a snowball effect that ultimately affects their overall well-being, including their mental state. Often, people with poor oral health do not like to smile as they are embarrassed to expose the condition of their teeth and gums.

When a person doesn’t get adequate nutrition, physical health declines.

The elderly are likely to suffer from weight loss, exhaustion, strength to walk and grip things with their hands. A recent study revealed that oral health problems are more common among older adults, with tooth loss, gum disease, tooth decay, and dry mouth the most likely to occur.

According to Dentistry Today, typically, “Sensory impairments such as eyesight and hearing, poor physical function, and a patient’s wider history of disease are often what is taken into consideration when identifying frailty, and oral health is often ignored when assessing the care of older people. Dental examinations and the health of a person’s mouth could become highly useful indicators of frailty and be added to general health screening assessments in older people.”

Dr. Reisman and  Dr. Contrucci of  C R Dental Group stress the importance of seeing your dentist at least twice a year. There should be a greater interest in identifying the needs of the elderly population at an earlier stage in order for healthcare providers to manage them quickly and correctly. They agree that “a preventative approach should be taken to the population’s oral health in order to relieve future pressure on an already overburdened health system”.