Oral health is as important in the fifties and sixties as it was when you were a kid. In fact, the major oral health concerns tend to increase with age. Problems in saliva production, exposure of ‘soft’ roots to decay-causing bacteria, difficulty flossing and brushing due to poor vision, cognitive issues, chronic health condition, and other physical limitations seem to increase the risk of dental health problems in older adults.
Here are five common oral health concerns which older adults are likely to face, and how to avoid them.
1. Mouth dryness
Several factors can contribute to dry mouth, and taking many prescription medications is one of them. Mouth dryness may prove detrimental to your oral health because saliva is responsible for reducing the effect of acids in the mouth. Saliva also helps us eat, talk and overall contains minerals essential to keep the teeth strong and healthy.
The best way to fight the effects of dry mouth is to sip on water throughout the day. Chewing sugar-free gum or using a saliva substitute may also help. It is also important to make sure you avoid tobacco and alcohol.
2. Decreased sensitivity
As you step into the older adult stage, you may begin to experience reduced pain and discomfort in your mouth. While you may mistake it as a sign of a healthy mouth, the reality may be far from it. Many older adults experience decreased sensitivity due to nerve changes.
To make sure you are not losing sensitivity, consider visiting your dentist regularly so they may check for warning signs of cavities, misfit dentures, gum disease, and oral cancer.
3. Gum problems
Gum disease is a common oral health concern, which develops due to excess plaque deposition on the teeth. Gum disease destroys the attachment between the teeth and gums, and if left untreated, it may lead to tooth loss.
Receding gums are yet another common concern exposing the vulnerable roots of some teeth. These teeth tend to be an increased risk of becoming loose or developing decay.
To combat gum problems, it is crucial to brush your teeth twice a day along the gum line using fluoride-rich toothpaste. Moreover, clean between your teeth with floss once a day. You should also see your dentist regularly because, at times, professional cleaning is the only way to get rid of build-up plaque.
4. Tooth decay
Treating yourself with sugar-packed foods and drinks, not brushing your teeth daily, exposed teeth roots, and dry mouth are the leading causing factors of tooth decay. At times, even fillings and crowns do not seem to help combat and treat cavities.
Reminder: to prevent cavities and tooth decay, brush and floss your teeth daily, and visit your dentist regularly.
5. Tooth loss
Tooth loss can be the most dreaded oral health concern amongst older adults. It may affect what you eat, how you talk, look, and most importantly feel.
No matter how many soldiers of your teeth army are left, you need to see your dentist regularly to get your mouth checked for sores, infection, irritation, and oral cancer. To restore your smile, consider getting an implant or a denture.
It is important for older adults to cope up with their changing oral health needs as they age – and Rogoff Dental Group can help you! We offer highly experienced and proficient services, and our compassionate staff members are out of this world amazing! We are your go-to place if you’re an older adult combating your oral health concerns.