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Senior Dental Care: Common Problems

Senior Dental Care: Common Problems

As we age, our bodies undergo changes. Unfortunately, that includes changes in our oral and overall health. With advanced age comes the increased risk of dental problems. This may be due to side effects of certain medications, medical issues, or conditions such as arthritis that make oral hygiene difficult. 

A dentist for seniors helps older patients stay on top of potential issues before they worsen and preserves your quality of life. Continue reading to learn more about the common problems and how to maintain good oral hygiene as part of senior dental care.

What Are the Common Oral Problems in Older People?

Although oral problems can develop at any age, older adults are more susceptible to having issues. The most common oral health problems include the following:

Periodontal Disease

Also called gum disease, periodontal disease starts small and worsens with time and lack of treatment. According to the CDC, 47% of adults over 30 have some form of gum disease. By age 65, that number increases to 70% of adults!

Initial signs of periodontal disease include red, swollen gums or gums that bleed when flossing. This is considered gingivitis and is an early stage of gum disease. If gum disease goes untreated, bacteria spreads through the oral cavity causing pockets in the gums. In advanced stages, tooth loss is possible.

Age, illness, medications, poor oral hygiene, and hormonal changes put patients at an increased risk for developing periodontal disease. Patients who have or are at risk of gum disease may require more frequent dental appointments to stop the progression of the disease.

Tooth Loss

The possibility of tooth loss also increases with age. Studies show that 27% of adults over 65 have no remaining teeth. Gum disease, tooth decay, and trauma can lead to tooth loss.

Tooth loss can lead to a host of problems such as the spread of bacteria and gum disease, speech and chewing difficulties, and movement of the adjacent teeth. If you have missing teeth, it is important to ask about appropriate dental treatments. Having your teeth restored or replaced helps prevent bone loss or additional oral issues.

Dry Mouth

A side effect of many medications is dry mouth. Seniors may develop dry mouth due to certain medications or dehydration. This leaves you feeling like you do not have enough saliva to chew, swallow, or talk.

Without proper saliva, your body cannot keep plaque and bacteria in check. Your dentures may start to rub or feel uncomfortable. Your mouth needs proper saliva production to help keep tooth decay at bay. 

If you experience dry mouth, take steps to keep yourself hydrated. Sip water frequently, avoid caffeinated drinks, and chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production.

Dental Hygiene for Seniors

Dental care for senior citizens is not that different from patients of all ages. Good oral care helps prevent problems and keeps your oral cavity healthy.

  • Brush your teeth two times per day, morning and before bed, for two minutes each time.
  • Floss daily.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Change your toothbrush every 3-6 months.
  • Watch your mouth for changes.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for routine dental care.
  • Take proper care of your dentures or dental restorations.

Find a Dentist for Seniors in Monroe, NC

At Dr. Roy Jennings Dentistry, providing quality dental health care is our priority. We offer dental services for seniors in Monroe, NC. Good oral hygiene and health care are crucial for older patients who are more susceptible to problems. Let us help you keep your smile healthy!

Contact our office today for affordable dental care!

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