Poor Oral Health Linked to Heart Disease in Seniors

Author: Debbie Humphrey

When I was a very young girl, I would often stay with my grandmother on weekends. She was a joy to spend time with, and we always had fun together. I remember giggling when she would remove her dentures and sport a big toothless grin!

As an adult, I am blessed to have helped countless seniors in my career as a Certified Senior Advisor and professional caregiver. The one common denominator between all of them – no matter what their specific needs may have been – was problematic oral health.

Practically all of them had lost one or more teeth, and many of them had dentures or dental prosthetics (partial dentures), like my grandmother. Unfortunately, I have learned that poor dental health has been linked to heart disease among seniors.

One reason for tooth loss is the lack of proper oral hygiene which should include twice-daily brushing and flossing. When people do not brush and floss, plaque and tartar accumulate on teeth and infiltrate gums which results in gum disease.

According to a report by Harvard Medical School, “People with gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event.”

Furthermore, a second article published by Harvard Medical School said “The common thread between gum disease and chronic health conditions is inflammation — the body’s natural response to an infection or injury. The build-up of inflammatory substances in the blood seems to worsen heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Eliminating the gum infection may dampen that harmful response throughout the body,”.

Seniors should ensure their teeth, tongue and gums are brushed twice each day – and the same goes for dentures and partials – to prevent gum disease and the increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other serious maladies. It is very important that seniors who still have their teeth see a dental health professional every six months – or more frequently, if necessary – to prevent gum disease and tooth loss.

I totally understand if you are concerned about COVID-19 exposure, however, my dentist is following all of the CDC guidelines. I suggest you contact your dental office to find out what safety precautions are in place to keep you and other patients safe.

If you or a senior loved one experiences difficulties brushing and flossing due to the repercussions of stroke; arthritis in the hands and fingers; visual impairment; Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or any other condition, and an in-home caregiver could assist, I am happy to offer a FREE Consultation to discuss specific issues and ways we can help.

Home Helpers® caregivers provide non-medical assistance with specialized care, including Alzheimer’s and dementia care, personal care, respite care, recuperative care, and so much more.

We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award for the fifth consecutive year: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539


Harvard Medical School – Harvard Health Publishing



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