Beyond a Nice Smile

Published 06/20/2023

Links Between Oral Health and Overall Health for Older Adults

Oral health is about more than a pretty smile. The benefits of good oral health extend to overall health, self-esteem, and quality of life. And the risks of poor oral health can be particularly severe for older adults. 

This infographic, a collaboration between CareQuest Institute and the Lunder-Dineen Massachusetts General Hospital MOTIVATE Program, explains the importance of oral health for the overall health of older adults. Key points include:

  • Having diabetes can raise the risk of developing gum disease (periodontitis) by 86%, and individuals with diabetes have gum disease that is more severe than for people without diabetes. 
  • Having gum disease significantly raises the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • The risk of developing high blood pressure is significantly higher in adults who have lost teeth and in people with gum disease.

The infographic also includes recommendations, including more communication between physicians, dentists, and patients about the connection between oral health and overall health. 

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