Over time, even with an ideal oral care routine and regular visits to the dentist, the health of our teeth and gums can decline. That’s why it is so important to continue to make our smiles a priority as we age and address dental issues promptly.
Common Dental Concerns of Seniors
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) affects a third of the population who are 65 or older and almost half of those over 80. Medications and illness are the main contributors to this condition. While a dry mouth may seem nothing more than a nuisance, the truth is that it causes a number of detriments:
- Reduced ability to taste, chew, swallow, and speak
- Increased susceptibility to tooth decay
- Loss of enamel
Drinking or sipping plain water throughout the day is advised to combat dry mouth. Also, limit your consumption of sweet, caffeinated, or alcoholic beverages.
Gum Disease (Periodontitis) is more prevalent among seniors. This is often caused by medications or systemic illness, as well as by less dedicated oral hygiene routines. With advanced gum disease being the leading cause of tooth loss, and tooth loss leading to bone loss, this cycle produces dental instability and recurring tooth loss. Early and late gum disease can also lead to the following:
- Bleeding gums
- Tooth decay at the root
- Increased risk of systemic illness
Professional dental care is required to prevent the advancement of periodontal disease. Regular cleanings and exams are essential for seniors, as is increased attention to oral hygiene habits at home.
Other Factors that Affect Oral Health.
Many dentists recommend motorized toothbrushes for anyone with dexterity issues such as arthritis to help get teeth clean. When choosing an electric toothbrush, be sure to find one that is angled so that it is easy to navigate to the harder to reach areas of your mouth. Interdental cleaners can be used in place of floss as many seniors find them easier to use.
Vision and hearing loss can make understanding the dentist when sharing findings or making recommendations difficult. Never be shy when it comes to obtaining this information. Ask your dentist to speak louder, slower, and more deliberately rather than show you the problem if you have any loss of hearing and or vision.
If you are in need of dental care in Chagrin Falls or Beachwood, The Dental Health Group of Chagrin provides exceptional and compassionate care for seniors.
To learn more, call Chagrin Falls Dental office today at (440) 543-1234