Proper home care and regular checkups can make your teeth last a lifetime. You can maintain your gums and teeth health no matter your age. Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings.
What special oral health issues should I be aware of as a senior?
Even if you floss and brush your teeth regularly, there are still some issues that you might face in your later years. Seniors may have to wear dentures or take medication. Your dentist and doctor can help you overcome most of these issues.
- Older adults are more likely to have cavities and decay on their root surfaces. It is important to floss regularly, use fluoride toothpaste and brush your teeth daily.
- As one gets older, sensitivity can become a problem. As you age, your gums recede naturally and expose areas of your tooth that aren’t protected by enamel. These areas are more susceptible to pain from cold or hot beverages or foods. Extreme cases may result in sensitivity to cold and sweet foods and drinks. Anti-sensitivity toothpaste is recommended if you are experiencing sensitivity. If you continue to experience sensitivity, consult your dentist. This could indicate a more serious condition such as a cavity, cracked, or fractured tooth.
- Dry mouth is common in seniors. It can also be caused by certain medications or medical conditions. Left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth. Your dentist will recommend the best methods to restore moisture to your mouth and prescribe medications or treatments to prevent dry mouth.
- Your oral health can be affected by existing health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Your dentist should be aware of any other health conditions you may have so that they can assist you with your specific needs.
- Many seniors find dentures helpful, but they need special care. Pay attention to your dentist’s instructions and consult your dentist if you have any questions. For denture wearers who have been wearing them for a long time, it is advisable to get an annual checkup.
- Gum disease can be a serious condition that can affect anyone of any age, but it is more common in those over 40. Gum disease can be aggravated by a variety of factors, including:
- Bad diet
- Poor oral hygiene
- Systemic diseases include diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
- Stress and smoking are two examples of environmental factors.
- Some medications can affect gum condition
Gum disease is reversible in its early stages. It is therefore important to detect it as soon as possible. Regular dental exams can help detect and treat gum disease early. It is possible to prevent gum disease development by maintaining good oral hygiene.
- Bridges and crowns can be used to replace or strengthen missing teeth. A crown is used to completely cover or “cape” a damaged tooth. A crown is used to strengthen a tooth and can also be used for its alignment, shape, or appearance. A bridge is a device that replaces one or more missing teeth. Bridges span the gap between the missing teeth. Bridges can be cemented to natural teeth or implant-supported teeth.