Older adults are prone to experiencing several oral and dental problems. In fact, those who are more than 65 years old are at risk of having more tooth decay in comparison to other age groups. To help prepare for these issues, gaining knowledge about some of the most common dental problems affecting older adults is a must.
Older people are often prone to producing less saliva, which is supposed to act as a natural protector for your mouth as it limits bacterial growth, cleanses your mouth of food, and ensures that your teeth are filled with protective minerals. Reduced saliva caused by dry mouth can, therefore, trigger dental decay.
If you are experiencing it then be aware that some of the major causes of it are cancer therapy, certain ailments, and some medicines, like antidepressants, bladder medications, anti-anxiety drugs, antihistamines, and diuretics. In this case, consider asking your pharmacist or doctor if it is possible to change your prescription, or lower your dose to prevent the dryness in your mouth.
Drinking enough water daily while staying away from foods and drinks rich in sugar can help, too. You can also stimulate the production of saliva by chewing gums and lozenges.
Also called periodontal disease, gum disease takes place when your gums, as well as the tissues holding your teeth in place, get infected. This might also result from the buildup of plaque along and under your gum line.
If you are suffering from a mild gum disease, then improving your oral hygiene can help reverse it. It is also advisable to brush and floss every day. Visiting your dentist regularly is necessary for preventing, and catching the problem before it gets the chance to progress.
Older adults are also at risk of tooth decay and cavities. There is even a chance for you to get these cavities on certain surfaces in your teeth that are never problematic before. Note, however, that the decay might also happen around the roots of your teeth, as well as your old fillings. It is mainly because the roots tend to get softer as you age.
To fix this problem, make it a point to use fluoride. If you have no access to fluorinated water then a wise tip is to add a fluoride rinse to your daily brushing habit. You might also ask your dentist if he can prescribe a stronger fluoride gel for you.
This problem occurs gradually and is often characterized by the gums shrinking away from your teeth. It tends to affect older adults especially if they have poor dental hygiene and certain gum diseases. Other possible causes of it are teeth grinding and smoking. If you do not treat receding gums immediately then it can significantly damage your oral tissue, which can further lead to tooth loss, and the development of more gum disease.
You can avoid this problem through good oral hygiene. It is also advisable to avoid sugar-filled foods and quit smoking. In case you show signs of gum recession, visiting your dentist right away is necessary. Your dentist might recommend a few treatment options, like deep cleaning and scaling.
Early identification of the mentioned dental problems in older adults can help treat them right away. You can also avoid them through daily brushing and flossing. Be fully aware of the changes to your mouth, too, and schedule regular dental examinations to keep your teeth, gums, and their surrounding tissues healthy even as you age.