Most common dental issues for seniors and how to deal with them
Nov 14, 2019 12:10
Proper oral care is a constant necessity, regardless of age. However, the older we get, the more prone we become to various dental issues. After all, after years of chewing, grinding, wear and tear of one’s teeth, and so on, it’s no wonder that seniors tend to experience certain dental health problems more often than the younger generations. Not to mention that it’s not uncommon for seniors to neglect their dental care, especially when they have other health issues to worry about. But this also can lead to dental issues as certain diseases and meds can also affect one’s dental condition. The following oral issues seem to be most common among seniors.
1. Tooth decay
Due to a diet filled with sugary and acidic foods combined with irregular dental hygiene, one of the most common dental issues among the seniors involves tooth decay. What’s more, this particular problem can lead to cavities, tooth loss, gum infection, and so on. Obviously, it’s essential that seniors maintain regular teeth brushing and flossing habits in both mornings and evenings. If the act of teeth brushing feels difficult due to arthritis, for instance, getting an electric toothbrush might be the best solution. Also, fluoride toothpaste can make a significant difference together with drinking water after every meal to wash out the acid in the mouth.
2. Gum disease
Unfortunately, imbalanced diet, difficulty swallowing, certain medications, poor oral hygiene and diseases common among the seniors can also lead to gum diseases such as periodontitis and gingivitis. Smoking, bad nutrition and lack of regularity in teeth brushing and flossing can all have these issues as consequences. This can turn into a very serious problem, as gum disease can also affect one’s general health. For instance, 1 in every 7 Australians in 2017 were surveyed to be older than 65, which means that the need for senior dental care is huge. That said, the best move would be to look for a professional dentist in Bondi Junction or your specific area in order to get adequate treatment as soon as possible.
3. Receding gums
Over the years, gums slowly recede which basically means that they shrink and move back, thus exposing the teeth more. Smoking, poor diet and dental hygiene, as well as teeth grinding. can all contribute to this condition. Again, the best preventative method is good oral hygiene involving regular teeth brushing and flossing, but quitting smoking is also recommended. However, if you notice this issue happening to you or a senior in your life, visit a dentist as soon as possible to receive adequate treatment.
4. Dry mouth
Saliva production decreases with age and the process can be sped up by the use of certain medications. The issue of dry mouth is, therefore, very common among the seniors. Sadly, dry mouth can lead to acid build-up causing tooth decay and cavities. There’s also the problem of cracked and/or swollen lips and tongue which causes pain and difficulty while speaking/eating. Drinking plenty of water is a must in this case together with using a dentist-recommended mouthwash. Chewing gum can also boost saliva production.
5. Oral cancer
The older one gets the bigger the risk of oral cancer becomes. People who smoke a lot and drink alcohol regularly are at an even bigger risk of oral cancer. This is why it’s crucial for seniors to regularly visit the dentist for check-ups. Also, every change in the mouth such as sores and ulcers should be reported to the dentist as soon as possible. Acting quickly, in this case, can save lives.
No one can escape the aging process but just because we age doesn’t mean we should let ourselves go and our health deteriorates even more. That said, practicing proper oral hygiene and having regular dentist appointments are absolute must-do practices that can better one’s lifestyle in senior years and improve overall health.
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