Why dental care is important for seniors
Good dental hygiene and oral care habits are important at any age, but you may face certain issues in your senior years when it comes to your oral health. Luckily, your dentist and physician can help you successfully meet most of these challenges.
What happens to our teeth as we age?
As you get older, certain oral conditions not present when you were younger might develop. That’s why dental care for older adults is so important. Many of these elder dental problems are easily identified, solved, or even prevented when you know what to look for.
1. Dry Mouth
Don’t worry, getting older doesn't necessarily make dry mouth more likely. However, certain features of aging, such as more regular medications or a chronic condition, can increase your risk for dry mouth – along with cavities or decay. Your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture in your mouth, as well as appropriate treatments or medications to help prevent the problems associated.
Otherwise known as simple wear and tear, many years of chewing and grinding can take their toll on an aging set of teeth. As enamel wears down, the risk for cavities increases.
This includes oral cancer and less serious illnesses, such as thrush, which is an abnormal growth of fungus in the mouth.
4. Gum Disease
One of the major causes of tooth loss in adults, gum disease — sometimes referred to as periodontal disease — is caused by plaque forming on teeth. Check out the warning signs and see your dentist if you suspect you have gum disease because the sooner you treat it the better. Thankfully, it’s easy to prevent gum disease in elderly adults from developing in the first place, by practicing proper oral hygiene.
5. Root Decay
Often accompanied by gum disease, the roots of your teeth may become exposed as your gums recede, leading to an increased rate of decay as you age.
6. Sensitive Teeth
Sensitivity can be an increasing problem as you age. Your gums naturally recede over time, exposing areas of the tooth that are not protected by enamel. If you experience sensitivity, try an anti-sensitivity toothpaste. If the problem persists, see your dentist, as the sensitivity may be an indication of a more serious condition, such as a cavity or a cracked or fractured tooth.