With the pandemic causing the deaths of almost 800,000 Americans since it began, it can feel like celebrating the holidays just isn’t a possibility this year.
Seniors in particular have suffered the effects of the pandemic. In the beginning, it was the loneliness of lock-down, with seniors usually confined to rooms and unable to see family members.
It can also be difficult losing those around you. Living in a long-term facility with a lot of others at high risk can sometimes mean seeing a lot of people around you pass away.
The pandemic has led to many negative effects on the mental health of older people around the world:
- Poor sleep
All of those things combined have led to many seniors not taking care of themselves, and due to social distancing, there hasn’t always been someone to help with that.
Dental care is one of the things that can be forgotten easily, so it’s very important to help seniors manage their mental health and take care of themselves better.
How Depression Affects Dental Health
Seniors who suffer from depression have a tendency of neglecting their oral care, from brushing their teeth regularly to receiving the necessary dental intervention.
Not attending to the dental needs of seniors can lead to a lot of problems that can affect their overall health.
Lack of cleaning can lead to teeth building up plaque in their teeth. This buildup, called tartar, can cause gum diseases from gingivitis to periodontitis, a more severe gum disease.
Periodontitis can be potentially deadly; it has been linked to strokes, heart disease, worsening of diabetes complications, and respiratory diseases.These problems could be easily avoided pre-pandemic; along with better mental health leading to better dental care by seniors, professionals such as Mobile Dental Express had the ability to provide routine care for them.
Helping Maintain Oral Care
Despite the fact that dentistry is a quickly evolving field, most seniors in long-term facilities still tend to receive poor oral care. This is incredibly unfortunate, as they are the demographic that can suffer the most from the effects of bad dental health.
Now that we’re almost two years into the pandemic, seniors have become more accessible to both dental professionals and caretakers.
Some great ways to aid seniors in maintaining oral care are:
- Helping brush and floss their teeth
- Keeping an eye out for gum disease
- Building a dental care routine
- Taking them to a professional for regular checkups
With the help of dental professionals, your patients can receive preventative care, disease treatment, and dental prosthetics.
And dental professionals can help you too. We are happy to offer training to Certified Nurse Assistants to ensure the best possible care for seniors and their dental health.
Being mindful of the causes and effects of depression for seniors is incredibly important in maintaining their dental health and allowing them a high quality of life during and beyond the pandemic.