Common Dental Problems That Affect Seniors
Taking care of our bodies and dental health is always important. Moreover, as you transition into your senior years, it’s good to be aware of common dental problems that could affect you as your body ages.
Oral health has dramatically improved among seniors due to advanced and preventative dentistry. You may think it is inevitable that you will lose all your teeth; however, that is inaccurate.
We are here to share with you some common dental issues that affect seniors, the importance of professional oral care, and some tips on reducing your risk of developing common dental problems in your senior years.
Most Common Senior Dental Health Problems
As we age, our bodies change, and learning how to navigate oral health issues commonly affecting seniors is crucial.
#1. Dry Mouth
Saliva plays a significant role in preventing tooth decay. When your mouth becomes dry and your saliva is low, your risk of developing tooth decay and cavities increases. Seniors often experience dry mouth, a common side effect of certain medications. In addition, some seniors undergoing cancer treatments that utilize radiation on the head and neck may also experience dry mouth. Make sure you drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist and stimulate your saliva glands to help them produce more saliva, which will help you maintain a healthy environment in your mouth.
#2. Tooth and Root Decay
Tooth and root decay are common in seniors and usually result from consuming more acidic beverages and foods. Once the root of your tooth becomes exposed, and your gum tissue is pulled away from your teeth, it increases your chances of developing tooth and root decay or a cracked tooth.
#3. Darkening Teeth
Everything we eat can affect our teeth, and consuming teeth-staining foods regularly can make teeth darker over time. In addition, as we age, our tooth enamel becomes thinner, allowing the underneath enamel, called yellow dentin, to become more visible and make your teeth appear darker.
#4. Losing or Missing Teeth
Many adults, 1 in 5, over 65 have lost all of their teeth, doubling the number of adults over 75. When you lose teeth and need to wear dentures, it can impact your nutrition, as many people who need to wear dentures choose softer foods rather than fresh fruits and vegetables. If you have a missing tooth, it is essential to take action as it can lead to more significant dental issues such as bone loss, uneven bite, and more. Thankfully preventative dentistry and regular dental checkups can help you maintain your oral health.
#5. Gingivitis and Gum Disease
Poor oral health can lead to gingivitis and gum disease; as we age, our risk of developing gum disease increases. The causes of gum disease include:
- The buildup of plaque and leftover food on our teeth
- Unhealthy diet and poor nutrition choices
- Dentures or bridges that do not fit properly
- Certain diseases like diabetes, cancer, and anemia increase our risk of developing gum disease
#6. Halitosis and Bad Breath
Many people occasionally suffer from bad breath; however, if you notice chronic bad breath or halitosis, it usually indicates an underlying problem. Various issues can lead to bad breath, including poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, and periodontal disease. Ensure that you’re brushing and flossing correctly and having regular dental checkups to prevent minor dental issues from growing into more significant ones.
#7. Stomatitis Resulting From Dentures
Denture stomatitis is painful, and gum inflammation under the dentures results from poor dental hygiene, dentures that don’t fit properly, and a buildup of the fungus candida.
#8. Oral Cancers
Most seniors who find themselves with oral cancer are those who use tobacco and alcohol, and it usually occurs in older patients. Dental checkups can ensure early detection, so you visit your dentist regularly.
#9. Untreated Tooth Decay
Regular dental check-ups can help prevent tooth decay and seniors; however, if you suffer from dental anxiety, you may find it challenging to go to your dentist. Talk with your dentist to help you find options to deal with your stress.
Tooth decay is a significant issue for seniors, caused by the buildup of tartar and plaque. As a result, many people experience gum recession, and the roots of their teeth become exposed, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Tooth decay is also responsible for infection, inflammation, pain, and tooth loss. Make an appointment to see your dentist today to ensure your teeth stay healthy and strong.
#10. Effects of Chronic Disease
Many seniors suffer from chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD). Many medications associated with these diseases also increase the chances of developing a dry mouth and an increased risk of tooth decay and cavities. Suppose you are diagnosed with one of these conditions. In that case, you need to know that it increases your chances of developing periodontal disease, and it is critical to receive regular dental care.
Tips For Seniors To Maintain Good Oral Health
When you reach your senior years, you already understand the importance of brushing and flossing twice daily. Beyond that, there are a few tips to help you maintain your oral health and avoid common dental issues many seniors face, including the following:
- Brush with an excellent electric toothbrush
- Rinse with mouthwash once or twice a day
- Stop smoking as it puts you at greater risk for oral cancer, gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other cancers
- .Eat a healthy, well-balanced nutritious diet that includes plenty of high-fiber foods and vegetables.
- Take care and clean your dentures adequately and take them out of your mouth for a minimum of four hours daily.
- Use proper brushing and flossing techniques twice daily
- Visit your dentist regularly for a cleaning an oral exam
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or earlier if needed
- Avoid high sugary foods or beverages
Getting older is something we all have in common, and as you age is essential to take care of your oral health. With the help of an experienced dentist and proper dental care, you can have a glowing, healthy white smile into your senior years.
High-Quality Preventative Dentistry For The Whole Family At Carrie Muzny DDS
Carrie Muzny DDS offers the highest quality dental services in The Woodlands and surrounding areas. Our highly experienced team of expert dentists is trained in modern preventative techniques to ensure you receive the best quality care with a dentist who cares.
We offer cosmetic procedures, preventative and restorative dentistry, professional tooth whitening, and pain-free surgical procedures for the whole family. Contact us to book an appointment or a consultation and get on the road to improving your oral health today!