Health is always a priority, no matter your age. It’s particularly important for seniors, as recovering from illnesses and conditions can be harder as we age. Oral health is no exception, and in today’s post, we’re going to look at a few of the most common oral health concerns seniors face and provide you with several different solutions.
Of course, nothing we outline in this article is one-size-fits-all, so please get in touch with Coventry Dental Care if you would like to learn more about how we can help you maintain good oral health in your senior years. Our Stratford dentist is just a call away — book your appointment today!
How Do I Maintain Good Oral Health in My Senior Years?
Your teeth can last a lifetime with proper home care and regular dental checkups. No matter what your age, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy by brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and seeing your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups.
It’s easy to put off dental exams when things get busy throughout the year, so we recommend scheduling regular appointments with our Stratford dental office to ensure that you don’t forget!
What Special Oral Health Issues Should I Know About as a Senior?
Even if you brush and floss regularly, you may face certain issues in your senior years when it comes to your oral health. Wearing dentures, taking medications, and general health conditions are some of the issues many seniors face. Luckily, your dentist and physician can work together to help you overcome most of these challenges successfully.
Here are a few of the most common oral health issues you need to know about as you age:
- Cavities and decay on the root surfaces of the teeth are more common in older adults. This means that it’s important to brush with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and see your dentist regularly.
- Sensitivity can also be an increasing problem as you age. Your gums naturally recede over time, exposing areas of the tooth that are not protected by enamel. These areas are particularly prone to pain due to cold or hot foods or beverages. In severe cases, cold air, as well as sensitivity to sour and sweet drinks and foods, can occur. If you experience sensitivity, try an anti-sensitivity toothpaste. If the problem persists, see your dentist, as the sensitivity may be an indication of a more serious condition, such as a cavity or a cracked or fractured tooth.
- Dry mouth is a common condition in seniors, and one that may be caused by medications or certain medical disorders. Left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth. Your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture in your mouth, as well as appropriate treatments or medications to help prevent the problems associated with dry mouth.
- Existing health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer can affect your oral health. Be sure to let your dentist know about any general health issues you’re facing so that they understand the entire situation and can help you meet your special requirements.
- Dentures can make life easier for many seniors, but they require special care. Follow your dentist’s instructions carefully and see your dentist if any problems arise. An annual checkup is recommended for long-term denture wearers.
- Gum disease is a potentially serious condition that can affect people of all ages, but especially people over the age of 40. A number of factors can increase the severity of gum disease, including:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Systemic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer
- Environmental factors such as stress and smoking
- Certain medications that can influence gum conditions
Because the earliest stages of gum disease are reversible, it is important to spot and treat it as soon as possible. Regular dental checkups can ensure early detection and treatment of gum disease. Most importantly, it is easy to prevent gum disease from developing in the first place by practicing proper oral hygiene.
- Crowns and bridges are used to strengthen damaged teeth or replace missing ones. A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape, or alignment. Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. Schedule an appointment with our Stratford dentist to ensure that your crowns and/or bridges maintain their integrity over time.
Common Conditions for Adults 55+
We touched on a few of the most common conditions that affect adults over the age of 55, but let’s discuss them in more detail to understand why it’s so important to avoid them.
This potentially serious condition occurs when the gum tissues surrounding teeth become infected because of a buildup of plaque on the teeth and gums. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is recognizable by swollen, red, or bleeding gums. Gum disease is a concern for older adults for a number of reasons, including plaque building up on teeth and gums from not developing proper oral health care habits earlier in life.
Tooth or Root Decay
Even at 55-plus years, adults can still develop tooth or root decay if gum recession has occurred. It is important for older adults to effectively clean the gums, the teeth, and exposed root surfaces to remove dental plaque and food debris.
At some point, we’ve all tossed back a nice, cold glass of water only to grimace at that sharp, tingling sensation in our teeth. A number of factors cause tooth sensitivity, including brushing too aggressively with a hard-bristled toothbrush, worn tooth enamel, and a cracked or fractured tooth. We recommend scheduling an appointment with our Stratford dental office as soon as you notice tooth sensitivity — we’ll help you get to the root of the problem and treat it as soon as possible.
Contact a Dentist in Stratford Today!
We hope that today’s post will help you maintain a good oral health regimen as you age. Coventry Dental Care is available to help you with any questions you have about your oral health, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our office. Please contact us by phone or fill out the form below to schedule an appointment.
We look forward to speaking with you!