On October 31, 2017
Did you know that 75 percent of seniors ages 65 and older have all or some of their natural teeth? That would have been unthinkable just a hundred years ago, when nearly everyone of that age wore dentures. Advances in oral hygiene in older adults have adjusted expectations, and with the right care, you can be among the 75 percent.
As you get older and your body changes, it becomes more important than ever to practice good oral hygiene habits to preserve your teeth and stay healthy. Aging can impact oral health in different ways for different people. Some develop sensitive teeth, while others get dry mouth. Some lose their teeth, while a lucky few have a full set with no cavities. Separate aging factors can affect oral health as well, such as the development of diabetes and heart disease.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene and Preventative Care in Sun City
Our practice emphasizes preventative dental care for older adults in Sun City. We believe that if you know how to care for your teeth, you can help keep them healthy over the long-term.
Preventative care involves being proactive with your oral health. It means addressing potential problems before they happen by knowing things such as the causes of gum disease and how dental care affects your overall health. When you are equipped with this knowledge, you make better choices for your mouth and may head off tooth decay or gum recession before they start. This saves you the expense and time associated with major dental procedures.
Common Dental Problems Among Older Adults
Not taking care of your teeth can lead to serious dental issues. At the same time, diseases common among older adults can complicate what might otherwise be a minor annoyance. Here are some of the most prevalent dental problems you may face:
- 1. Dry Mouth
Medications prescribed for other conditions may spark dry mouth, which can, in turn, cause tooth decay. Not enough saliva can result in cavities as well as root rot. You may lose teeth if you suffer from dry mouth for months.If you can’t change your medication, you can encourage saliva production by chewing sugarless gum. Drink more water, too, and let it stay in your mouth before swallowing to wet your teeth. Avoid caffeine and alcoholic drinks, which also encourage dry mouth.
- 2. Diabetes
Roughly one in four people over age 65 suffer from diabetes. One side effect of diabetes can be dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay.Other symptoms include thrush, an infection that occurs in the mouth, and gum disease. The latter is caused by damage to blood vessels going to the mouth, making the gums more susceptible to infection. Diabetics’ high blood sugar can also elevate levels of sugar in saliva, leading to bacteria production.
- 3. Sensitive Teeth
Over the years, tooth enamel and gums can wear away, resulting in sensitive teeth. This can become even worse if you have used a hard-bristled tooth brush or sawed away at your teeth too aggressively while brushing.
- 4. Heart Disease
Researchers have found connections between heart and gum disease. When your mouth is healthy, it’s one less component that can lead to coronary issues.
- 5. Gum Disease and Recession
When plaque builds on the teeth and gums, it can lead to gingivitis, one of the main causes of gum disease. The tissue around the teeth can become infected, and in some cases, this can prompt teeth to loosen or even fall out. Gum disease may become worse if you are on medication that inhibits the production of saliva. The best prevention for gum disease is regular brushing, flossing and dental appointments in Sun City.Gum recession causes include aging as well as a lifetime of poor dental habits. If you want to know how to prevent gum recession, the Number 1 solution is to take better care of your teeth, no matter how old you are. Those who grind their teeth or have parents with gum recession are also more likely to develop it themselves. Symptoms include sensitive teeth and the development of gum disease and tooth decay.
How to Care for Your Oral Health for Older Adults in Sun City
If you want to avoid the oral health pitfalls that can befall older Americans, use these preventative methods:
- – Brush two times a day with a soft-bristled brush, or try an electronic toothbrush, which may reach areas you can’t with a regular brush
- – Floss at least once a day
- – Clean your dentures daily, if you wear them
- – Remove dentures at least four hours every 24 hours
- – Avoid sugary foods, especially if you have diabetes
- – If you smoke, quit
- – Get regular fluoride treatments from your Sun City Dentist if your drinking water does not contain fluoride or you frequently drink bottled water
The Most Important Preventative Care for Seniors: Get Regular Checkups and Dental Care
We focus on providing dental care for older adults in Sun City. You must get regular checkups with a dentist to ensure your lifelong dental health. You should also call us immediately if you experience any type of dental problem, and we can get you in with our Sun City dentist to address it. Contact us today to learn more about oral health and older adults.