In my book, 7 Caregiver Landmines and How You Can Avoid Them, the first landmine is Ignoring Personal Health Needs. Sadly, all too many caregiver put off preventive care services as they care for a vulnerable loved one. Dentistry care is one of those important health needs for caregivers.
It’s not just about a pretty smile
While a lovely smile is important for self-image, healthy gums are critical for the health of the body. For a host of reasons, people put off proper dental care, and caregivers are no exception. It not simply the caregivers dental needs that neglected. Taking loved ones with special needs or illnesses to the dentist can become traumatic events. Yet, with all that, a trip to the dentist can prevent serious and expensive issues down the road.
“Be true to your teeth and they won’t be false to you!” —Soupy Sales
Dr. Byron Bush joined me in the studio for this show to discuss dental hygiene for caregivers and their loved ones. Practicing dentistry for three decades, Dr. Bush brings a wealth of understanding to the discussion. Furthermore, Dr. Bush is my family’s dentist. Over the years, he’s shown great care to Gracie and he and his staff work hard to help make dental trips easier for her.
According to Dr. Bush, and from a report from the Mayo Clinic, below are only a few of the issues that can result from a lack of proper dental care.
Medical issues that gum disease can cause (Source Colgate.com)
- Cardiovascular disease: In a nutshell, this means heart disease. The bacteria from inflammation of the gums and periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream. Once there, it can travel to the arteries in the heart and cause atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Atherosclerosis causes plaque to develop on the inner walls of arteries which thicken and this decreases or may block blood flow through the body. This can cause an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. The inner lining of the heart can also become infected and inflamed—a condition known as endocarditis.
- Dementia: The bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through either nerve channels in the head or through the bloodstream. As a result, this might even lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Respiratory infections: The Journal of Periodontology warns that gum disease could cause you to get infections in your lungs, including pneumonia. (Breathing in air passing over infected gums and teeth over a period of time.)
- Diabetic complications: Inflammation of the gum tissue and periodontal disease can make it harder to control your blood sugar and make your diabetes symptoms worse. Diabetes sufferers are also more susceptible to periodontal disease, making proper dental care even more important for those with this disease.
To those patients with special needs, Dr. Bush stressed the importance of medical providers listening to the patients and their caregivers. Furthermore, he shared that sitting down and taking the time to understand the various challenges, will prevent mishaps and unpleasant experiences.
“If your dentist or other healthcare provider doesn’t take the time to listen to your concerns, find one that will!” Byron Bush, DDS
For more information, visit www.promisedental.com or call Dr. Byron Bush for all your dentistry needs at 615 401-1103