The link between frailty and losing teeth
06 April 2018
Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.
Bacteria accumulates in the mouth on a daily basis, and if patients don’t get rid of it by brushing and flossing twice a day, they could put themselves at risk of many health conditions. These include diabetes, aspiration pneumonia, and heart disease. According to stats published in Healthy Magazine, one in four adults in the UK don't brush their teeth every day, while one in three have never flossed their teeth. Not cleaning between the teeth can leave up to 40 percent of the tooth exposed to bacteria. Imagine all that bacteria getting into the bloodstream where it can cause disease in the rest of the body. Now, a recent study has found that losing teeth could even result in frailty, which is especially a concern for seniors.
Tooth Loss Leads To Health Problems
In the UK, over 60 percent of older adults have periodontal disease, while only 40 percent have what’s known as functional dentition, meaning that they still have over 21 of their teeth. These are quite shocking statistics, which reveal the importance of healthy oral hygiene and preserving one’s teeth.
Research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society confirms the importance of good oral healthcare. It found that when seniors lose their teeth, they endure many problems. These include not being able to properly smile, eat, or speak, which inhibits their quality of life. Loss of teeth also may put seniors at risk of becoming frail.
How The Study Worked
Researchers studied 7,735 British men. The men were examined back in 1978 until 1980 when they were between the ages of 40 and 59. Then, during the period of 2010 and 2012, the researchers examined the surviving 1,722 men who were now between the ages of 71 and 92. They tested the mens’ walking ability as well as grip, then gave them dental exams. The researchers found that men who’d lost their teeth, had dry mouth syndrome, and/or other oral health problems, had a greater risk of becoming frail.
The Link between Frailty And Losing Teeth
Frailty isn’t just about the loss of physical strength. It also refers to being more vulnerable to a decrease in health status. Oral health problems are associated with the presence of physical frailty, and may also influence the development of frailty in older age. Further research is still needed to understand mechanisms underlying associations between oral health and frailty. If one is experiencing tooth loss, there could be an underlying medical cause for it, such as low bone density which could lead to osteoporosis. Teeth are a window into one's health!
The Importance of Dental Cover
Dental insurance is essential for seniors so that they can protect their pearly whites and prevent health complications from bad oral hygiene. Dental insurance can be expensive, but there are lots of options for paying for dental checkups and treatments. If one’s teeth are in good condition, an NHS dentist is a great option. If, on the other hand, treatment is required then dental insurance may help to decrease costs.
In the UK, half of adults haven’t been to the dentist in two years. Regular check-ups every six months are important to prevent serious dental problems, such as teeth that are becoming weaker. By sticking to regular dental check-ups, people can ensure greater oral health and general wellbeing.
Researchers have found that there may be a link between seniors who lose their teeth and experience frailty. This study reveals the importance of good oral hygiene as well as how teeth can offer insights into one’s overall health. By making dental care a priority, seniors can protect themselves against health problems that threaten to decrease their quality of life.