Causes For Bad Breath In The Elderly

Breath odor can be caused by disease, personal hygiene, dry mouth from medications and the aging process.

What is Sialorrhea

Sialorrhea is a weakness or difficulty with the swallowing reflex. Drooling occurs when saliva accumulates and begins to overflow. Excess mucus becomes most dangerous when sleeping because of the potential for choking.

The onset of Sialorrhea may occur after a stroke, Parkinson’s disease or Bells Palsy (paralysis or weakness of the facial nerves).

Drugs used to treat Parkinson’s can result in dry mouth, increased occurrences of oral infections and bad breath.

Food Not Staying Down

Changes in the esophagus because of acid reflux, aging or disease can
cause difficulty swallowing.

This may be improved with exercise.

Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter suddenly opens or does not close properly and the contents of the stomach along with the digestive acids rise back up into the esophagus. Bad breath soon becomes evident from the sour taste at the back of the throat.

If left untreated frequent indigestion can develop into Gastroesophageal reflux disease (Gerd) a chronic condition damaging the lining of the esophagus, causing cancer or ulcers.

Symptoms include a burning sensation in the chest, back of the throat or abdomen.

Contact your doctor if heartburn persists more than two weeks and over the counter solutions do not work.

Find out more about Gerd treatment and testing

Medications

As we age our bodies become increasingly fragile and we may find it necessary to rely on multiple medications to alleviate pain or other maladies.

Reduced saliva production occurs naturally with aging but further compounding the problem are the use of antidepressants, diuretics and blood pressure medications that also result in dry mouth

Dental Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is important at any time, whether we continue to have our natural teeth or wear dentures.

If not properly cleaned dentures are a breeding ground for bacteria, odor and bad breath.

Many dentists recommend overnight soaking to eliminate odor and harmful bacteria.

But, it is not always possible for seniors to properly clean their teeth; due to stiff limbs caused by arthritis, Parkinson’s or other illnesses. It is at this point the elderly may need the assistance of a caregiver to help with oral hygiene.




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