By Rich Burkholder, DDS
You can barely move your shaking fingers.
You’re ashamed to smile, so everyone thinks you’re grumpy.
You can’t remember what day it is.
You’re always tired.
You constantly have a nasty taste in your mouth, your food tastes odd, and…
something in the room smells really bad!
When your children and grandchildren visit they seem “stand offish”,
don’t stay long and don’t kiss you goodbye anymore.
You’re told it’s your 100th birthday tomorrow and you think,
“Oh great, another year of suffering!”
When pain and infection are streaming through your body, and your smile looks scary, it is your entire being, (body, soul, mind and spirit) that suffers.
Quality of life matters to the end, and helping your loved ones achieve that goal is a true gift.
As we grow older, maintaining our oral health becomes more difficult for many reasons and can lead to big problems including a diminished quality of life:
1. Teeth grinding and clenching break down the teeth and supporting structures
2. Fear (dentaphobia) leading to neglect
3. Memory can deteriorate and we forget all about cleaning our mouth
4. Saliva flow diminishes, causing dry mouth which makes you more cavity prone
5. Manual dexterity becomes impaired due to arthritis, tremors, etc., so it is more difficult to brush and floss
6. Diet can change, and if sugar intake isn’t controlled, that adds to the problem
7. Inability to chew food adequately can lead to nutritional deficiencies
8. Medications can affect diet, salivary flow, appetite, etc
9. Gum disease and chronic infection which are also linked to heart disease
10. Tooth decay resulting in tooth loss
11. Chronic pain and swelling
12. Odor - bad breath (halitosis)
13. Appearance and self dignity are compromised
Our Fashion Isle Smiles team has collaborated with the local assisted living facility Crown Cove, where we work hard with the caretakers to help their residents maintain quality oral hygiene. Please help your loved ones get the care they need during a tough era of life for a dignified, clean, happy and healthy journey to the end.