The tooth enamel wears away as people age. This makes teeth vulnerable to different dental conditions, such as cavities and decay. For that reason, proper dental care should be taken seriously by older adults. When neglected, overall health and quality of life will be negatively affected.
Due to the reasons mentioned, there is no doubt as to why dental care is important for seniors. It is essential to know the common dental problems in old age and some tips for maintaining good dental health.
Common Dental Problems in Old Age
As mentioned, aging puts seniors at risk of various dental problems. Making dental care on top of the list of priorities can decrease the likelihood of them occurring:
One of the causes of this condition is the thinning out of the tooth enamel. When the protective layer of teeth wears down, the next layer, also called dentin, shows through. Dentin appears in a darker yellow color.
Food and drinks consumed also adds up to the existing stains on teeth, leading to darkening. Regardless of the cause, darkened teeth can be an indication of a more serious health issue, so visiting a dentist is a must.
Aging is one of the most contributing factors to the occurrence of dry mouth. It is a condition wherein there is insufficient saliva production in the mouth. When there is not enough saliva, soft and hard tissues in the gums and mouth will be negatively affected. Additionally, dental caries and infections may occur.
Many seniors suffer from gum diseases brought about by the accumulation of plaque and food particles left on the surface of the teeth and along the gum lines. Some conditions common in older adults, such as diabetes and cancer, are also causes of gum diseases.
Tooth loss is a common dental condition in people 65 years old and beyond. Gum diseases, which are common in adults, are one of the major causes of tooth loss. Additionally, studies suggest that a decline in physical health is also among the contributing factors that lead to tooth loss.
With tooth loss, there is an increased likelihood of having deteriorated or weakened jawbones. When not addressed appropriately, weakened jawbones become uneven, leading to severe fractures. This can also lead to a higher rate of missing teeth as it causes the remaining teeth to lose their support.
There are still other dental problems caused by aging. Denture-induced stomatitis, impaired sense of taste, and root decay are among them. With these dental conditions posing more serious health problems, the importance of dental care in old age should never be neglected.
Dental Hygiene Tips for Seniors
Here are some tips for maintaining good dental health and preventing problems caused by aging:
1. Brush and Floss Daily
It is essential that seniors practice proper dental hygiene to maintain good dental health. Brush twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. For seniors having difficulty brushing due to arthritis, there are electric toothbrushes available on the market to make brushing easier and more convenient.
Flossing at least once a day prevents plaque along the gumlines. If flossing once a day is not possible, consult a dentist to know the best alternative.
2. Clean Dentures Regularly
For seniors wearing partial or full dentures, make sure to remove them before sleeping. Additionally, cleaning them is crucial to prevent the growth of bacteria and other microbes that can cause dental health problems.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
Food and drinks with high sugar or acid content should be avoided. They can cause serious damage to the tooth enamel, leading to many dental issues and other health problems. Experts suggest that calcium intake should be increased to prevent osteoporosis. Additionally, increase water intake to prevent dry mouth.
4. Quit Smoking
Smoking, especially tobacco, darkens teeth and poses other health risks. For that reason, it should be stopped to maintain good dental and overall health. Dentists and other experts may give helpful advice on how to quit smoking effectively.
5. Schedule Routine Dental Visits
Regardless of age, everyone should visit dentists regularly. Routine dental visits help catch minor dental issues and prevent them from turning into severe dental problems. For people needing elderly dental care, visiting dentists at least twice a year is a must. If the budget permits it, more frequent dental visits can be done.
Importance of Dental Care in Old Age
Proper dental care prevents problems that come with aging and some intersecting comorbidities that contribute to the deterioration of dental health. Additionally, it helps maintain overall health and wellbeing and improves the quality of life.
At Sunrise Dentistry, we have the best dentists in Durango, CO, to provide you with top-notch dental services for preventing problems as you age. For any inquiries or questions, contact us today!