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Elderly Encouraged to Monitor Dental Health

Public health groups in New Jersey are launching a campaign aimed at encouraging elderly residents to monitor their oral health more closely. Most campaigns of this kind are usually aimed at families with young children, but experts warn that problems like bad breath and gingivitis can have a much more serious effect on the lives of adults. Consequently, the need to take better care of your mouth and teeth will increase with age.

Dental groups in New Jersey recently launched a series of public service announcements highlighting the importance of dental check-ups and good oral hygiene as you get older.

“Dental care doesn’t stop when you get older,” said Andrew Greenberger, a periodontist participating in the US campaign. “It’s more important than ever to take good care of your mouth, whether you have your natural teeth or wear partial or full dentures. Good oral health leads to good overall health, and by contrast, poor oral health can lead to serious disease.”

The link between oral and general health has long been established, with recent reports suggesting that more frequent brushing and a healthier mouth can actually reduce the risk of heart disease. Regular dental check ups are not just likely to identify problems with your teeth, but can also help health professionals identify other potential conditions, even ones not at all linked with your mouth but actually found in other areas of the body, much earlier.

Elderly patients are also more at risk from certain oral conditions that dental check ups will be able to identify and treat, before they become more serious. Oral cancer, for example, if found early can be treated relatively easily, despite the high death rate if it is discovered later. The elderly are also more likely to suffer from more minor oral health problems, such as gingivitis and other diseases of the gums, because of weakened tissue, often caused by the use of dentures.

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