Properly maintaining your oral health is crucial at any age, but it’s especially critical for senior citizens. Seniors may be more sensitive to dental issues because of cognitive or physical issues that keep them from flossing and brushing their teeth as efficiently as before. Here are four specific teeth-related problems older people typically face.
People who have oral infections, ill-fitting dentures, missing teeth, gum disease, and cavities can find it remarkably difficult to eat. This problem leads to problems with the balance of their diet and the quality of the food they consume. Seeing a dentist is even more critical for people who have this problem because it could quickly become a sad quality-of-life issue.
Cavities are more closely related to kids, but people can get them at any age – this is mainly a problem among people aged 65 and older. This condition’s risk increases with age because older adults don’t visit the dentist as often as they used to in the past. As a result, cavities go completely undetected and untreated for way too long.
This results in contamination of the gums and the other tissues that keep teeth securely in place. Gum disease typically worsens as a person ages, eventually leading to extra pain when chewing. The two most common forms of the disease are periodontitis and gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis include swollen, red gums that can bleed regularly, while periodontitis occurs when the gums separate from our roots, forming spaces that later become infected.
Both forms of gum disease ultimately lead to plaque on the teeth. If this plaque is not removed regularly, it turns into tartar, which cannot be removed even through brushing alone.
People above the age of 55 are at higher risk for oral cancers. The risk is higher for people wh smoke cigarette, cigars, pipes or chew tobacco. Regular dentist appointments can help detect problems early.
Many seniors experience dry mouth, which is also known as xerostomia. Saliva plays a vital role in preventing tooth decay, but many seniors take multiple medications that can prompt dry mouth. These include pain pills, blood pressure medications, decongestants, antihistamines, incontinence medications, and several others. Most experts recommend that seniors reduce their alcohol and caffeine intake and drink lots of water to help combat this problem.
While proper brushing and flossing can help mitigate these and other oral health problems, the best way to prevent them entirely is by regularly visiting a dentist. If you are a senior citizen and you can’t take care of your teeth as well as you used to, a dental professional may be able to suggest ways to make it simpler. Please don’t ignore these symptoms because it will only worsen over time.