Dental Care for All Ages
Even if you’re a bit long in the tooth, it’s worth paying attention to your dental health. Healthy teeth mean less dental pain and more enjoyment of life! If you’re part of an older demographic, here are some common dental issues to look out for.
Tooth Loss & Decay
Tooth loss is a natural occurrence that comes with aging. While some of it is connected to genetics, you can still combat tooth loss by maintaining good dental hygiene and correcting any issues as you encounter them. One problem that many older adults experience is dry mouth. Although this seems like a minute issue, saliva serves an important role in protecting our teeth and reducing bacteria. As plaque and bacteria build up, saliva helps to remove it throughout the day. As we age, we often find ourselves taking more medication, and dry mouth can be a side effect of medications for depression, asthma and high blood pressure. A lack of saliva can break down enamel, which can contribute to tooth decay and loss.
A prominent cause of tooth loss in older adults is periodontal disease, a bacterial infection that can destroy gum tissue and even the bone structure that supports the teeth. According to the CDC, nearly 2 in 3 adults over 65 have gum disease. Periodontal disease is a contributing factor, as it can lead to bleeding gums, chewing problems and other issues. Thankfully, many dental offices, including Perimeter Dental Group, offer periodontal therapy to remedy this issue as quickly as possible. It’s important you act fast, though. Tooth loss can affect your nutrition, making it more difficult to chew and enjoy nutritional food such as fruits, nuts and vegetables. Take time to visit your dentist and create a plan to keep your teeth in great condition.
Learn more about Periodontal Therapy with our office here!
Good Teeth For Better Health
Poor dental health doesn’t just affect your teeth. It can also lead to other serious health issues, including pneumonia, oral cancers and even heart disease. Seniors with poor oral hygiene, especially those who smoke, are at increased risk of bacterial pneumonia; as you breathe, bacteria present in your mouth can travel to and infect your lungs. Gum disease and tooth loss are also connected to increased risks of heart disease. This is because poor dental health can increase the risk of bacterial infection in the bloodstream through the gums. Oral cancers are also associated with older adults, especially those who use tobacco products. Fortunately, these issues can easily be avoided by maintaining a solid dental hygiene routine partnered with regular dental checkups to detect problems early.
Older adults with diabetes may encounter more issues with their dental health, as their saliva may contain too much glucose. This also goes for older adults who have poor blood sugar control. An excess amount of glucose (sugar) in saliva gives bacteria grounds to grow in your mouth, which also gives it more opportunities to affect enamel and gums. If not monitored, this can quickly lead to gum and periodontal disease.
Improving Your or Your Loved Ones’ Dental Health
Though seniors often face issues keeping teeth intact, these diseases are very preventable. Here are some steps you can take to ensure you or an elderly loved one maintains good oral health:
- Keep up with daily brushing and flossing: Brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing regularly help clear out problematic bacteria. Opt for a fluoride toothpaste for an extra line of enamel defense. Set reminders for yourself or others if you expect remembering to be a problem.
- Schedule regular dental checkups: Not only does staying on top of regular cleanings help prevent issues from occurring, having a dentist check your teeth and gums allows you to get ahead of such problems.
- Review your medications: If dry mouth becomes a bigger issue as a side effect, talk to your dentist about solutions to relieve it.
- Eat a healthy diet: Incorporate tooth-healthy foods and reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. Drink plenty of water, too, as this helps flush out bacteria while keeping you hydrated.
Keeping Your Teeth Healthy in the Long Run
Preventing tooth loss, decay and other dental issues requires a bit of daily work and care. However, doing so can give you a better chance of keeping your smile healthy and looking great. If you need an extra boost with caring for your teeth, Perimeter Dental’s team can help you get your teeth on the right track. Give us a call, or schedule your appointment below!