4 Oral Issues Seniors Need to Look Out For
Proper oral care and dental hygiene is important for everybody, from young children to adults in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. For older adults though, taking care of your mouth and teeth the right way as you age is of the utmost importance.
As you get older, certain oral care issues are more likely to pop up. To avoid dental discomfort, high dental bills, and costly procedures, keeping your eyes open for these issues is essential. The good news is that most seniors can maintain a healthy mouth and teeth with just a little effort.
Keep reading to learn more about the four oral care issues seniors need to look out for.
Cavities can plague anyone, and by the time you reach senior status, there’s a good chance that you’ve had your share of fillings and repairs. Seniors are at a higher risk of developing cavities than children and adults though, so taking extra precautions to avoid them should be on the top of your daily to-do list.
The most important thing you can do every day to avoid cavities is to floss each day and brush after every meal. Limiting your exposure to foods that are high in sugar can also help you reduce the number of cavities you get as you age.
Gum disease is a common problem for seniors, and while there are treatment options available, many believe that they can’t do much to change their situation. Gum disease is something that can be cared for, and in many cases, it is reversible.
The key to getting help with gum disease is going to your dentist for regular cleanings and treatment. For moderate to severe cases, a professional cleaning below the gum line may be beneficial.
At home, flossing regularly can help keep your gums healthy and in tip-top shape.
Tooth loss is a common problem for seniors, and as many as 25% to 30% of seniors over the age of 65 have lost all of their teeth, relying on dentures, partials, or implants. On average, seniors who have natural teeth have only about 50% of the ones that they should have.
Losing teeth isn’t something that has to happen to you even as you get older. Proper oral care at home can make a huge difference, as can seeing your dentist for cleanings and checkups on a regular basis.
Taking care of potential dental issues when they pop up is also an important part of keeping your teeth as you’re getting older. If you have pain or discomfort, it’s important that you make an appointment right away. Doing this could help you save a tooth.
Many seniors are required to take medication that can have side effects like dry mouth. Unfortunately, this can pose problems for your dental health and make oral care a little bit more challenging.
Having a dry mouth can lead to more dental caries and tooth decay because saliva is your mouth’s natural defense against predatory bacteria. Over a prolonged period of time, a dry mouth can lead to teeth that need fillings, or worse, restorative treatments or to be pulled entirely.
Drinking more water, chewing sugar-free gum, eating mints, and adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can help combat dry mouth at home.
Your dental health has been important your whole life, and just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful smile. Use these tips to make sure your oral care routine is up to snuff, and as always, remember to visit your dentist for regular checkups.
For more information on how to keep your mouth and teeth healthy as your age, book an appointment with Stefan Dental and see what we can do for you today!