Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, and no Turkey Day table is complete without cranberry sauce. The tart berry is not only tasty, but for seniors, cranberries may also provide crucial oral health benefits that help keep teeth and gums healthy throughout the year.
Seniors are particularly vulnerable to oral health problems. Losing teeth is a common issue in older adults, of course, but seniors also need to be vigilant about the health of their teeth and gums for other reasons, each of which can interfere with the enjoyment of our golden years. One of the most serious issues faced by seniors is periodontal disease. The bacterial infections which are the cause of gum disease are linked to other serious chronic conditions, and if these bacteria aren’t removed from the surface of teeth quickly and regularly, a whole host of painful – and potentially fatal – problems can arise.
A recent article in Whole Foods Magazine discussed how cranberries can play an important role in oral health for seniors by reducing the amount of bacterial buildup in the mouth. Recent positive research about the beneficial effects of cranberries and oral health include:
- A lab experiment from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign which suggests that organic whole-fruit cranberry powder and organic cranberry juice powder both have anti-adhesion effects, meaning that bacteria is less likely to stick to teeth enamel.
- A Canadian study which found that whole fruit cranberry powder is a natural agent for reducing bleeding gums and bad breath. In the study, 33 men and women dipped their toothpaste-covered toothbrushes into cranberry powder before brushing their teeth. After two to three months, the periodontal condition of the patients improved, and in all cases, bleeding from the gums ended.
Eating a balanced diet, including cranberries, is just one way older adults can keep their teeth, gums, and overall health strong and less vulnerable to infection or disease. Additionally, people 60 and older should:
- Treat dental problems promptly
- Have their teeth and gums checked/cleaned twice annually
- Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day to neutralize acids
- Undergo gum disease treatment if recommended
- Limit sugar intake to prevent cavities
- Maintain a regular brushing and flossing routine, twice daily
Assure A Smile: Helping You Stay Healthy at Any Age
At Assure A Smile in Miami, we partner with patients of all ages to help them develop healthy, natural, and effective oral hygiene habits as part of an overall wellness strategy and holistic healthcare approach. To learn more about the importance of oral health for seniors and how to develop healthier habits for a better you, please contact us today at 305-274-0047.