Poor dental hygiene may indicate neglect in Pennsylvania nursing homes

 In Nursing Home Neglect
Many residents of Allegheny County live in nursing homes when they can no longer care for themselves. According to the American Psychological Association, over 23 million Americans are the recipient of some form of psychological, mental or other form of abuse while staying in a nursing home.

Signs of neglect

There are many common signs that residents of nursing homes are being neglected or abused. The National Center on Elder Abuse states that frequent indicators of elderly abuse include:

  • Physical signs including bruises, burn marks or broken bones.
  • Depression or a withdrawal from activities the elderly individual used to enjoy.
  • Weight loss, poor hygiene and bedsores.
  • Sudden changes in the elderly person’s financial situation.
  • Tension between the elderly person and the caregiver.

In addition to these common signs of nursing home neglect, poor dental hygiene may also indicate that abuse or neglect is taking place and can lead to serious health problems. A woman recently visited her father that was living in a Virginia nursing home and found that his toothbrush was gathering dust. After her father began complaining of an intense headache, she found that her father was suffering from the effects of a broken tooth, a condition which had gone unnoticed by the staff at the nursing home, says The New York Times.

The man that suffered from the broken tooth is one of many elderly that suffer from elderly neglect relating to dental hygiene. Many nursing home residents endure cavities, cracked teeth and other dental issues because staff members of nursing homes often forget to help their residents care for their teeth.

The mouth-body connection

Poor dental hygiene can often result in other health-related issues, a problematic outcome for the elderly already suffering from poor health in their later years. Poor dental hygiene can affect a person’s heart, memory, blood sugar and breathing.

The mouth is an area of the human body that is constantly teeming with bacteria, most of which is harmless, states the Mayo Clinic. Proper dental hygiene habits, such as regularly brushing and flossing, in addition to the body’s natural defenses keep these bacteria in check. When periodontitis, a severe gum disease that develops due to poor dental hygiene develops, the human body has a reduced tolerance to infection and can often play a role in the development of certain diseases.

If one of your loved ones that lives in a nursing home is not receiving necessary dental care and is suffering from a related disease, or is experiencing any form of neglect or abuse, contact an attorney to find out how you can remedy the situation and properly deal with the nursing home that is not providing necessary care.

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