Top 3 Dental Concerns for Seniors
It is important to play an active role in preventing dental diseases and problems at any stage in life, but it is also important to know which dental problems are most likely to occur during each stage of your life. For instance, the risk for certain dental problems can increase later in life, and you’ll need to partner with a trusted Henderson NV dentist to prevent them.
Which dental issues present the greatest risk for senior citizens?
- Dry Mouth- when you lack a sufficient flow of saliva, your risk for cavities, digestive problems, and oral infections can increase dramatically. Research shows that you may produce less saliva as you age, but the greatest threat to your salivary flow comes from medications. Pain relievers, antihistamines, blood pressure, and cholesterol medications are notorious for causing dry mouth. However, there are many other medications that can cause this problem. Current statistics show that more than 400 prescription and over the counter medications list dry mouth as a common side effect.
- Gum Disease- Tender, bleeding gums are first signs of an oral infection. Also known as periodontal disease, this chronic infection can take a toll on your immune system, cause discomfort during eating, lead to bad breath, and result in irreversible bone loss. Senior citizens are vulnerable to gum disease due to weakened immunity and decreased ability to properly remove plaque bacteria on a daily basis.
- Tooth loss- Your teeth won’t fall out just because you have gotten older. However, decades of wear and tear can make it hard to hold on to your natural teeth. Years of untreated gum disease, cavities, old dental treatments, and poor health can cause your risk for tooth loss to skyrocket.
What can senior citizens do to prevent these common dental issues?
- Find out if dry mouth is a side-effect of your medications. If so, ask your dentist about oral moisturizers and saliva substitutes.
- Limit your sugar and carbohydrate intake. You can minimize your risk for cavities by watching your diet.
- Take time for oral hygiene. Be diligent about cleaning between your teeth and along your gumline after each meal and before bed. Ask your dentist about prescription fluoride products, power toothbrushes, and dental floss holders for better plaque control.
Get regular checkups. As you age, you may need to see a Henderson dentist 3-4 times each year for oral health monitoring and maintenance. Call to schedule your appointment today!