Dental care is the most important element of maintaining natural teeth and enhancing the quality of life for elderly people. Many people think that conditions such as toothaches, tooth loss, gum disease, and dry mouth are inevitable side effects of growing old.
In fact, many different things can cause dental problems and good dental care can help avoid many issues that were previously assumed to be due to ageing. Factors such as periodontal disease, side effects of medications, and poor diet can affect the oral health of mature people.
So, advancing age can increase the risk of developing oral health problems, but proper care can also decrease that risk.
Cardiff Dental is experienced at treating patients of ALL ages, including seniors.
Dental Problems Associated with Ageing
Cavities. A recent study found that nearly one-third of people over 65 had untreated cavities. In older people, these are found not only in the crown the tooth, but also in the root. This is because roots can become exposed due to gum recession that accompanies ageing.
Gum disease is another major oral health issue faced by all patients, but particularly dangerous for more mature patients. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. The disease is caused by plaque bacteria, which thrive on the sticky biofilm that clings to the surface of teeth when they aren’t properly cleaned. Poor-fitting dentures can make the problem worse, as can the presence of certain diseases (such as diabetes or cancer).
A third issue is tooth-loss. According to Colgate Australia, around 75 percent of adults 60 and older only have a portion of their original teeth. Issues such as severe gum disease, which is common in about 23 percent of seniors between the ages of 65 to 74, can contribute to the loss of your natural teeth.
Dental Health and Overall Health
Dental health and overall health are tied together. Scientists have studied multiple links between the two:
- Several studies have linked periodontal disease, which is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums, with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
- A 2012 study suggested oral bacteria may contribute to some cases of knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Bacteria in the mouth may also find their way to the lungs if a person breathes in tooth plaque. This may cause pneumonia or other severe respiratory disease.
- Tooth loss due to poor dental health is a risk factor for memory loss and early stage Alzheimer’s disease.
- Researchers have found that men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers.
How to Protect Your Dental Health
Visit your dentist regularly. Regular dental exams/checkups and teeth cleanings are more important than ever. Even if you’ve been as regular as clockwork with your brushing and flossing, dental visits are key! Regular visits can save you money on more expensive dental treatment in the future, including gum disease treatment or treatment of tooth loss.
Get professional denture care. Clean and store your dentures according to their instructions and try to avoid OTC denture-repair kits, which provide temporary fixes at best. If your dentures start to fit poorly, be sure to see a dentist for a professional denture reline.
Switch to an electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush not only makes brushing easier but it can be more fun. If arthritis or decreased mobility is an issue, consider switching to an electric or “powered” toothbrush.
Consider dental implants to replace missing teeth. Many people immediately think of dentures when they think of replacing missing teeth. But more and more patients are choosing dental implants to replace missing teeth because they look and feel more natural than dentures.
Special Offer for Seniors at Cardiff Dental
- FREE Dental Implants Consultation
At Cardiff Dental, our goal is to make quality dental care affordable for all patients, especially for adults and seniors. Take advantage of our latest offers. To find out more, visit our special offers page today!