Hello Everybody! I am so glad you are here with me today. I am the Proactive Caregiver and I specialize in educating others on how to be a proactive caregiver by targeting the caregiver rather than the care recipient. If you cannot take care of yourself, then you cannot take care of your loved one.
As we hear more and more about self-care and the importance of it there is one type of self-care I believe people take for granted. Many toothpaste ads target the desire for whiter teeth and fresher breath, but did you know that poor oral health can affect the brain?
Today's guest is from Chicago, Illinois. I want to introduce you to Dr. Joy Poskozim, owner of Joyful Dental Care. Joy knew she wanted to be a dentist in the eighth grade when she had her braces. She was fascinated by her teeth moving into place to have a nice smile! It took 3.5 years, but once they were off, she knew dentistry was for her. The oldest of four, Joy grew up in Park Ridge and graduated from Maine South in 1990.
Joyful Dental Care was named “2010 Corporate Citizen of the Year” by The Lincolnwood Chamber of Commerce and has been named "Next-door Neighborhood Favorite Dentist" for the Edgebrook, Lincolnwood, and Sauganash areas. In 2020, Dr. Joy Poskozim earned her Fellowship with the Special Care Dentistry Association for her ongoing efforts in bringing dental care to senior communities and those that are home-bound.
"There’s an old saying about the eyes being windows to the soul. But the latest medical and dental research shows that the mouth truly is a window into one’s overall health. Looking out for a loved one’s health means not only keeping an eye on their nutritional intake and physical capabilities but also on their teeth and gums" as quoted by Joy. Dementia and possibly even Alzheimer's disease can result from gingivitis when the bacteria in the mouth spreads to the nerve channels or enters the bloodstream.
Gum disease or periodontitis is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease. Poor dental health increases the risk of a bacterial infection in the bloodstream, which can affect the heart valves. If you already have a family history of heart conditions, then your dental health becomes extremely important. Mom's 3rd dementia diagnosis came well after she had been living with vascular dementia and early-onset Alzheimer's. Her dental hygiene was not as great as it should have been. After several expensive trips to the dentist for fillings, root canals, and crowns she learned that only swishing with Listerine was not enough. Brushing at least twice a day with flossing finally became a routine for her to protect her investment in her teeth.
Now in retrospect, I have to wonder if her poor nutritional habits along with poor oral hygiene did not create the gateway to life with mixed dementia. Both poor habits could have affected her heart and brain without us knowing until the symptoms became painfully obvious. As she began to isolate herself at home over the years, she did not keep up with dental visits regularly anymore on her own. It is very important to help our loved ones keep up with regular dental visits as long as possible. This type of self-care will help prevent tooth decay, gum problems, pain, and infection.
More often than not the specialists are loved one sees are not connected, including dentists. It is vital to have a list of your loved one's medications on hand ready to provide to the health care providers. Not only can certain combinations of medications be harmful, but they can also cause dry mouth and other oral health issues. Be prepared and proactive to help prevent poor oral health.
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I hope this gave you more food for thought. Until next time, BE PROACTIVE. Take care, everybody.
Intro: Vacation Time by Khris Paradise
Outro: Misty by Khris Paradise