Oral healthcare for seniors can often be a problem. Teeth endure a great deal of abuse over the years. As a result, plaque builds up quickly. This can lead to many dental concerns, especially if your daily routine of dental cleaning has been affected due to the onset of arthritis. Brushing and flossing can become almost impossible. In addition, medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer can impact your oral health.
Common Dental Problems for Seniors
As you grow older, many dental problems can creep up. Some develop later in life, while others have been progressing over the years. A few things to watch for are:
- Altered features – In some seniors, your bones may adjust due to osteoporosis or missing teeth. This can leave your jaw uneven or alter facial features.
- Darker teeth – As you age, your teeth encounter more foods and drinks that eat away at the enamel and darken your teeth. Tobacco use can contribute to this. In addition, age can sometimes alter the dentin within your teeth.
- Dry mouth – Many things can cause dry mouth. Common causes are cancer treatments affecting the head and neck, diseases such as Sjögren’s syndrome, and medication.
- Gum disease (gingivitis) – Use of tobacco products, poor diet, bad oral hygiene, badly fitted dentures, and even diseases such as anemia, cancer, and diabetes can cause this increase in plaque buildup.
- Receding gums – Over the years, gums may recede, allowing more food, drink, and acidic residue to attack the roots of your teeth. This can lead to more severe, painful problems and eventually tooth loss.
- Stomatitis – If you have dentures, it is very possible to develop stomatitis, a condition where the gum tissue beneath your dentures becomes irritated and an abundance of the fungus Candida albicans can be found.
- Tooth loss – If good oral hygiene is not maintained, painful problems can lead to tooth loss.
- Thrush – Diseases and medications affecting the immune system have been shown to trigger an abundance of fungus in the mouth called Candida albicans.
- Weakened sense of taste – Many adults experience a weakened sense of taste, but diseases can contribute to this.
Maintaining Good Dental Care
Tips for maintaining good oral hygiene as you grow older include brushing twice a day and flossing your natural teeth at least once before bed. Always use toothpaste with fluoride, and remember to stop by your dentist’s office for regular cleanings and oral exams. Following these tips will help keep your teeth in the best shape possible and avoid many dental problems I’ve mentioned.
If it is time for your next checkup, contact our friendly dentists at Fresh Pond Dental to make an appointment.
Our Cambridge dental office is suited precisely for your oral healthcare needs.