As we get older, it’s not unusual for our physical health to decline. We may not be able to move around as easily or see. These types of changes are a normal part of the aging process. But just because our physical health may decline as we age, that doesn’t mean we should ignore our dental health. In fact, seniors need to be diligent about caring for their teeth and gums.
Why Seniors Should Especially Take Care of Their Dental Health
There are significant reasons why seniors should take their dental health seriously, including:
1. Gum Disease
Gum disease is a relatively severe problem that can lead to tooth loss. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC reports that almost half of American adults aged 30 and over have some kind of gum disease. And this number increases with age—by the time they reach 65, 70% of seniors have periodontal disease.
This condition results from plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on our teeth. If plaque is not eliminated, it can harden into tartar, which leads to gum inflammation and infection. Symptoms include bleeding gums, receding gums, bad breath, and loose teeth.
2. Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is a common concern, especially among seniors. According to data, 27.4% of women and 24.0% of men reported having a dry mouth at age 50. It can be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, and certain medical conditions such as Sjögren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disorder that attacks the tear and saliva glands).
A dry mouth can also lead to tooth decay and gum disease because there isn’t enough saliva to wash away food and plaque. You know you have this condition if you experience a sticky feeling in the mouth, cracked lips, sore throat, trouble chewing or swallowing, and hoarseness.
3. Tooth Loss
Tooth loss is another common problem among seniors. In fact, according to the CDC, one in five adults aged 65 and over have no natural teeth. Tooth loss can be caused by gum disease, tooth decay, and certain medical conditions. It can also be a side effect of certain medications.
In addition, this condition can lead to difficulty eating, speaking, and smiling, as well as lower self-esteem. The worst thing is that tooth loss can be an emergency dental problem if not taken care of immediately by a professional. You may visit https://adinafamilydentalcare.com/emergency-dentist/ for more information about urgent dental care services.
Why Seniors Should Visit the Dentist Regularly
To maintain good dental health, seniors should visit the dentist regularly—at least once every six months. During these visits, the dentist will clean your teeth and check for any problems. They may also take X-rays to check for tooth decay or other issues.
It’s also important to inform your dentist about any changes in your mouth, such as bleeding gums or dry mouth. And if you have concerns about your dental health, don’t hesitate to ask the dentist. Most importantly, choose a reputable dental clinic, such as Adina Family Dental Clinic—an excellent dental center in Rochester, that offers various dental services to take care of your smile.
How to Avoid Dental Problems in Aging Adults
While dental should start early in childhood, it’s never too late to start taking care of your teeth. If you’re a senior, there are several things you can do to avoid dental problems associated with aging:
Brush and floss regularly.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once daily. Be sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste that contains fluoride to help prevent tooth decay.
Eat a healthy diet.
A healthy diet is vital for overall health, including dental health. Consume more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit sugary and acidic foods, which can damage your teeth.
Consider quitting smoking.
Smoking is bad for your overall health, including your dental health. It maximizes your risk of gum disease and tooth loss. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health—including your dental health.
See your dentist regularly.
As mentioned earlier, seniors should visit the dentist at least once every six months for a professional cleaning and check-up. This is important for maintaining good dental health and catching problems early on. If possible, look for a geriatric dentist specially trained to care for the dental needs of seniors. Visit this page to know more about how it works.
Wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from injury if you play sports.
Injury to the teeth is a common dental problem among athletes, especially those who play contact sports. Wearing a mouthguard can help protect your teeth from being chipped, cracked, or knocked out.
Wear a nightguard if you have bruxism.
Bruxism is a condition that makes you grind or clench your teeth during the night. It can damage your teeth and lead to other dental problems. If you have bruxism, your dentist may recommend wearing a nightguard to protect your teeth from being damaged.
Dental problems are common among seniors but can be prevented with good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. If you’re an aging adult, brush and floss regularly, eat a healthy diet, and see your dentist every six months. These simple steps help you maintain good dental health as you age.