Take Care of your Gums…Help your Heart?
In 2016 we started an oral hygiene program at our Reflections at Fellowship Square-Mesa (our Memory Care Unit). This oral hygiene program helps each resident in our memory care get their teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist each week. The hygienist cleans flosses and checks the teeth for any problems. If a problem is visible then we schedule an appointment with Mobile Dentistry of Arizona. For the appointment the dentist comes to our resident and fixes the problem on site. Our resident does not have to schedule transportation and can stay in their apartment until the dentist is ready.
The fall of 2017 we expanded this program to our Oasis Assisted Living residents with the same services. The Oral Hygiene Program is a service for every resident living in Reflections Memory Care or Oasis Assisted Living.
Why do we do the things we do at Fellowship Square-Mesa?
The care and health of our residents is a very big concern to us. We found that good oral hygiene and good health are related.
Researchers have found that people with poor oral health are twice as likely to have heart disease, and that risk may be even greater for those with high cholesterol. Gum disease is caused by bacteria. The bacteria can break down the tissue between the gum and the tissue around the teeth causing inflammation. During our meals this bacteria can be swallowed and make its way to our bloodstream. When in the bloodstream it moves to other parts of the circulatory system.
The body’s natural response to infection is inflammation or swelling. It is possible that as oral bacteria travels through the body it triggers a similar response, which then leads to the formation of arterial plaque. This oral bacteria has been found on deposits in the arteries. These deposits grow and cause the arteries to narrow. When the deposits break loose they can clog the arteries and lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Scientists are still researching whether this is the root of the problem. One thing is for sure: It is firmly established that a link exists between gum disease and heart disease.
Residents Thrive at Fellowship Square-Mesa
Again – Why do we do the things we do at Fellowship Square-Mesa? We want all our residents to thrive. We just don’t make this statement but we put actions in place where we give our residents the best opportunity to thrive.
Our Oral Hygiene program is currently in place for our residents at Reflections (our Memory Care Unit) and Oasis Assisted Living. We would like to expand this program to our Manor IV Assisted Living residents but do not have the funds as of yet to offer this program. These residents have a very limited monthly income and are dependent on what ALTCS or Arizona Long Term Care System has to offer. If you would like to help make this program available to our Manor IV residents we need your support. To make a donation go to SeniorsNeedSupport.org. This donation can qualify for a dollar-for-dollar tax credit up to $800.