Preventative dental care is essential at all stages of life, but it is especially critical as you become older. Oral health is crucial to your entire health and physical well-being. Seniors must have frequent health checkups; older folks must get regular dental exams.
Oral health directly impacts overall health because dental illness is a leading cause of medical and emergency department visits. Medications and prevalent chronic conditions in older persons, such as diabetes or heart disease, increase the risk of dental problems.
Nonetheless, access to senior dental care remains a challenge in foreign countries. Dental benefits end when you retire, and Medicare does not cover routine dental care. Seniors’ oral health may suffer from missed dentist appointments, age-related memory loss, other cognitive issues, and physical impairments.
With proper senior dental care, toothaches, gum disease, and tooth loss can all be avoided. Healthy teeth also help elderly folks enjoy their food and eat more healthfully.
As you get older, chances of acquiring various oral health issues arise. Here are some of the most frequent dental problems that seniors will encounter.
Dry mouth: Dry mouth can occur by various factors, ranging from autoimmune illnesses to medical treatments. This is an annoying issue that can interfere with speaking and eating.
Darkened teeth: As dental enamel thins over time, more dentin is exposed to the surface, making teeth seem yellow. Also, after a lifetime of coffee, tea, wine, and other teeth-staining beverages, your teeth may appear to be permanently discoloured.
Missing teeth: With age, older adults lose their teeth. Reasons for teeth loss can be age, injury, gum disease, root decay etc. Loss of teeth brings issues like difficulty in chewing, sagging of facial muscle, jaw-dropping. Thus, such problems should be solved as soon as possible.
Tooth loss is prevalent among the elderly. According to the CDC, one in every five persons 65 and older has lost all teeth. Tooth loss can impact nutrition because seniors who lack teeth may be unable to eat or enjoy fresh food options such as fruits and vegetables.
Cavities in the teeth
Bacterial plaque erodes tooth enamel and creates holes. Dry mouth is one factor that contributes to an increased risk of cavities in older persons. Saliva protects the teeth and lowers bacteria, but dry mouth is a negative effect of several prescriptions often used by seniors, such as antidepressants, asthma medications, and blood pressure medications.
Severe gum disease, commonly known as periodontitis, can cause sore, bleeding gums, chewing difficulties, and tooth loss, among other health issues. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of their gum disease since symptoms do not appear until the condition has progressed. Regular dental checkups and good senior dental care can help avoid gum disease.
Senior dental care becomes important because overall health can impact dental issues and dental issues have a vast impact on overall health. How does poor dental health during old age impact overall health?
High risk of blood clots
If you have had chronic gum disease for a long time, you have a lot of harmful bacteria in your mouth. Because of this, you are more likely to develop blood clots, which increases your risk of stroke.
Gum disease can be caused by ill-fitting dentures, decaying teeth, diabetes, and cigarette use. Untreated gum disease can cause tooth death and tooth loss.
Coronary artery disease
According to research, gum disease-induced inflammation raises the risk of heart disease. Gum disease can also aggravate some cardiac conditions and may be linked to an increased risk of stroke. Periodontal diseases create certain bacteria that travel from the mouth to the heart’s inner wall and cause endocarditis.
People who have poor blood sugar management are more likely to develop dental disorders such as inflammation of gingiva and gum disease because too much glucose (sugar) in saliva promotes the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Diabetes patients with gum disease appear to have poor blood sugar management. Excess sugar can also cause an abscess in the mouth.
Bacterial pneumonia is more common in older persons with poor dental hygiene, especially those who smoke. This happens because bacteria in the mouth can migrate to the lungs when someone breathes. Maintaining proper dental hygiene in older adults who cannot care for themselves may help reduce the incidence of this type of pneumonia.
Cancer of the mouth
Oral malignancies are more common in older people. People who habit chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes, pipes, or cigars are at a higher risk. Regular dental visits can help in the early detection of issues. reasons to prioritize geriatric dental care
Maintaining regular checkups and receiving preventative care as needed is critical for overall health. Here are the advantages of having a regular oral care practice.
Senior Dental Advantages
There are numerous advantages to practising good oral hygiene and receiving superior senior dental treatment. Here are a few of the benefits of taking proper care of your teeth:
Also Read: Seven Benefits of Having a Family Dentist
1. Reduced Chance of Developing Gum Disease
Did you know that gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in the elderly? You can reduce your chances of developing the periodontal disease by:
- Brushing and flossing your teeth daily
- Tobacco and other dangerous substances should be avoided.
- Visiting a dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings
- Getting rid of dry mouth
Many people, including doctors, believed that dry mouth was a normal part of the ageing process, but we now know that this is not the case. Saliva production should be normal in older, healthy persons. It might be difficult to eat, swallow, taste, and communicate when you have a dry mouth. Furthermore, it raises the risk of tooth decay and infection. To avoid dry mouth, drink plenty of water and avoid sugary foods, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, and smoking.
2. Lessening of the Risk of Oral Cancer
Adults over the age of 40 have substantially greater rates of oral cancer. Regular dental examinations are critical for detecting cancer at an early stage.
3. Fewer cavities
Cavities (dental caries) can form at any age. However, the prevalence of cavities in people over the age of 60 is twice that of a 30-year-old. As a result, brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day is much more vital. In addition, see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
4. Keep Your Teeth Whiter
Your teeth will inevitably lose their lustre as you age, enabling darker yellow dentin to come through. Senior dental care assists you in maintaining whiter teeth and reversing the effects of a lifetime of consuming stain-causing foods and beverages or participating in activities such as smoking and inadequate dental care. Brush and floss regularly, eat a well-balanced diet and receive routine cleanings to keep your teeth white and healthy.
Senior dental care is very important for both dental and overall health. Visit our dentists to get dental care for seniors in Calgary. Our experts will ensure right diagnosis, quality treatment, and right direction to lead a health life.