What Causes Bad Breath in Aging Adults?

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Bad breath can be a problem for people of any age, but seniors experience changes in their bodies that can make them more susceptible to this condition. Here are a few of the top causes of bad breath in the elderly and how to prevent them. 

Age-Related Changes to the Mouth

As seniors age, saliva production slows, body tissues weaken, and immunity decreases. Having less saliva makes it difficult to wash away food particles and odor-causing bacteria, and weakened tissue means the gums can tear more easily when brushing the teeth or eating. Bacteria can enter gum tissue through these tears, and reduced immunity makes aging gums more prone to odor-causing infection. Having routine dental checkups can maximize your senior loved one’s oral health and minimize bad breath. 

Seniors often need help with a variety of personal hygiene tasks, including those required for good oral health. Senior home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Ill-Fitting Dentures

Many seniors lose their teeth to gum disease and need to use dentures as a result. Over time, a senior’s gums can change, but dentures remain the same. Ill-fitting dentures can trap food particles, which cause odors as they chemically break down. Proper denture maintenance and routine dental visits can ensure your loved one’s dentures fit and function optimally, which reduces bad breath. 

Poor Oral Hygiene

Whether your loved one has dentures or natural teeth, poor oral hygiene can lead to bad breath. Conditions such as arthritis, stroke, or fatigue can make it difficult to brush and floss, and dementia or reduced vision can cause some seniors to skip oral hygiene altogether. Careful brushing and flossing on a daily basis can reduce the odor-causing bacteria in your loved one’s mouth. 

Poor oral hygiene can increase the risk of a variety of health issues in aging adults, especially those with cognitive decline due to dementia. For dementia care Potomac families can count on, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care. Our compassionate caregivers use innovative memory care programs to help seniors stave off the progression of dementia, and they can also assist with a wide variety of important everyday tasks, including bathing, grooming, exercise, and cooking.

Reduced Thirst

Due to age-related changes in the thirst center of the brain, seniors don’t perceive thirst as readily as younger people. When your loved one drinks less water, odor-producing bacteria aren’t efficiently washed away from the gums or teeth. Eating water-rich foods like soups and fruit and drinking enough water to maintain pale yellow urine can wash away the bacteria that causes bad breath.

If your loved one needs help managing oral hygiene tasks or other activities of daily living, consider hiring a professional caregiver. The type of elderly home care Potomac, MD, seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs. If your loved one needs professional care, Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at (301) 363-2580 today.