As you get older, the body experiences some challenges, which, when combined with aged teeth and gums, can compromise oral health. The common dental problems linked with aging are tooth cavities, toothaches, and tooth loss. So, dental care should be the major priority to maintain good oral health.

A healthy mouth can greatly impact how you feel, look, and live.

Dental Conditions That Present in The Elderly

1.  Gingivitis

Gingivitis, also known as gum disease, causes gum inflammation and swelling. The disease is painful and causes bleeding when brushing. If left untreated, the gum disease causes periodontal pockets between the gum and the tooth’s root, leading to infections. Senior dental care can prevent the disease.

2.  Dry Mouth

The major cause of dry mouth is reduced saliva. Other causes are; using certain medications, inadequate nutrition, and long-term health issues. Healthy saliva production is vital to maintaining oral hygiene because of its antibacterial properties that fight off bacteria. A dry mouth increases the chances of infections for seniors since it provides a better habitat for germs to multiply.

3.  Oral Cancer

Aged people are at a higher risk of oral cancer. However, cigarette smokers and tobacco chewers are at higher risk than nonsmokers. Regular dental visits help detect the disease early when it’s easily manageable.

4.  Periodontitis

Periodontitis affects the gums and the surrounding bones. Its major cause is plaque and bacteria. The risks of the disease increase as people age due to a lack of proper dental care- brushing regularly and flossing.

5.  Receding Gums

As people age, their teeth and gums lose elasticity, causing them to recede. With poor dental care, elders with receding gums can get gum disease and gingivitis, which cause tooth loss.

Receding gums increase tooth sensitivity, and thus a dentist can recommend sensitive mouthwash or toothpaste.

6.  Tooth Loss

Tooth loss is common in seniors. According to CDC, 1 out of 5 adults aged 65 and above have lost a tooth/teeth. Without proper dental care, seniors get cavities or gum diseases, leading to tooth loss.

Ways to Improve Dental Health for Seniors

  • Brush 2-3 times a day using fluoride toothpaste to remove bacteria and dental plaque. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid hurting the gums.
  • If you see changes in your mouth, such as white patches, sore throat, swelling in the jaw, or numbness in your mouth, see a dentist.
  • Build healthy habits by cutting down on sugary drinks or foods, avoid smoking, and drink moderately. In addition, keep hydrated.
  • Talk to your dentist if you don’t have enough saliva. Dry mouth causes infections and tooth decay.
  • Clean dentures daily using the right cleaning products. Also, remove dental prostheses daily and clean them properly.
  • Floss daily using dental floss or mouthwash to remove bacteria and food particles between teeth. However, seek a dentist’s advice on the best mouthwashes. 
  • Visit a dentist regularly for cleaning and checkups, and avoid missing dental appointments.

Conclusion

Oral health affects seniors’ quality of life and overall health. Older persons usually suffer from tooth decay, oral cancer, dry mouth, and tooth loss, conditions that affect their wellbeing. Although aging teeth and gums are more prone to diseases, basic oral hygiene can prevent the problem. If you have an elderly person, always remind them to brush daily, floss, and seek dental care for checkups and oral health management.

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