Dental Health for Seniors
Taking care of your dental health is important at any and all ages, but as you get older, more dental health problems tend to arise. This can include anything from darkened teeth, to tooth loss, to thrush, which is a fungus that can grow in the mouth as a result of diseases or drugs.
Cavities can be more common in older adults because they are less likely to have been exposed to fluoride as children, and there may be more decay around older fillings. There is also more possibility for tooth decay from medications. Teeth can also become sensitive due to receding gum tissue. As we get older, our gum tissue recedes. When they recede too much, the root is exposed and the tooth will become sensitive.
There are a few things you can do to make sure you and/or your loved one is taking care of their teeth. The first is daily brushing and flossing. This is a given at any age, but especially as we grow older. Maintaining clean teeth will keep plaque from building up. If the dental hygiene is neglected, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Also, according to the ADA, mouth rinse once a day can reduce bacteria that can cause plaque and gum disease.
Finally, smoking and drinking can increase the risk of oral cancer even more in seniors. Cutting down or quitting can definitely help improve your overall dental health.
If you or your loved one is a senior and headed to a dentist appointment, be prepared for the questions your dentist may ask you. This can include questions like the approximate date of your last dental visit, if you’ve noticed any recent changes, if your teeth are loose or sensitive, or if there has been any discomfort or difficulty tasting, chewing or swallowing. If you think you or your loved one could benefit from a dental visit, call Dr. Real at (714) 525-2888 to set up an appointment.