As we age, so do our teeth. And with years of eating and drinking wearing down our teeth and gums, it only makes sense that seniors can face an increased risk for oral health issues. Greater risk means greater care and attention to your teeth. Below are just a few, common oral health issues that seniors face. For more information about these issues and what you can do to minimize your risk, ask your dentist.
Cavities & Decay:
We typically associate dental cavities with younger people. Whether we eat too many sweets or drinks too much soda, cavities are something we’re taught to look for at a young age. But many people forget that cavities can also plague us as we age. In fact, your risk for cavities and root decay increase as you age. Be sure to brush your teeth every day with fluoride toothpaste, floss regularly and consult your dentist often to help minimize your risk. Cavities can become a major oral hygiene concern if left unchecked and can possibly lead to expensive procedures, so be mindful of these invisible problems when caring for your mouth.
Gum disease affects people of all ages but seniors are at a greater risk, which can cause problems for your oral health later on. Gum disease can be brought about by a number of things, from poor diet to unhealthy living habits such as smoking to pre-existing conditions such as diabetes. Be sure to limit your risk factors by following good oral hygiene practices, improving your diet and, if you’re a smoker, reduce your tobacco product use. If caught early on, most gum disease can be treated without long lasting implications. But if left unchecked, gum disease can spell real trouble for your mouth.
Dentures, Crowns & Bridges:
It’s not uncommon for people to lose teeth as they age. This can stem from all sorts of reasons but once a tooth, or part of a tooth, is lost, oral hygiene becomes an increasingly important to keeping your mouth healthy and happy. If you are a regular denture-wearer, be sure you are keeping them clean as directed by your dentist. Also, be sure to visit your dentist regularly to check on the integrity of your dentures and how they fit. The same concerns apply to crowns and bridges. Be sure you remain vigilant in your care of your dental work.
Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth is a condition that can afflict many seniors. As you age, your body decreases its saliva production, meaning your mouth may feel drier over time. Also, many common medications can reduce saliva production and create dry mouth. Try reducing your intake of caffeine or alcohol to help manage this issue. And speak to your dentist about what may be exacerbating your condition.
It’s important to remember that you should always consult your dentist before you make any major change to your dental hygiene habits. Dental care for seniors is an important facet of healthy living as we age, so be mindful and check yourself regularly. For all of your dental health questions, be sure to contact Frank Skiba, DDS.