Dental Health Care And Aging
What You Should Know About Dental Health And Aging
Aging brings about various indications of physical, physiological, and mental degeneration. Dental health is among the most common concerns for older adults. As you get older, the risk of experiencing dental problems also increases.
Because of impairments in the normal bodily processes associated with aging, older people may find it more challenging to perform oral hygiene and self-care.
The most common dental conditions experienced during old age are:
Dry mouth (Xerostomia)
The golden years are considered cavity prone years. Cavities during old age are commonly caused by dry mouth. Xerostomia or dry mouth is not a normal process in aging; rather, it is a result or a side effect of various medications, which are usually taken by older adults to treat or control high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, and other illnesses that come with aging.
Dry mouth can lead to cracked lips, fissured tongue, caries, and mucositis. A Prescott, AZ dentist recommends increased fluid intake and avoidance of alcoholic and carbonated beverages to relieve the symptoms of dry mouth and prevent cavities.
Periodontitis or gum disease
Dental health and aging are linked together in many ways. As a person grows older, he may start to experience receding gums, which exposes the roots of the teeth. This increases the risk of developing decay.
In addition, poor dental hygiene also causes the buildup of plaque, causing the gums to become irritated and swollen.
In general, gum disease, in its early stages, is painless and does not present any symptoms. As such, it is often left undiagnosed and untreated until it is in the advanced stages. Advanced gum disease affects not only the gums, but also the bones and ligaments supporting the teeth.
Good oral hygiene through regular and proper brushing are very helpful in preventing periodontitis. Regular visits to a dentist for professional cleaning are also advised to remove hardened plaque.
Root and coronal caries
The four elements needed for dental caries to form are the tooth surface (enamel or dentin), fermentable carbohydrates, bacteria, and time. Dental caries could lead to advanced gum disease and tooth loss when left untreated.
Regular brushing using fluoride-containing toothpaste remains to be the main preventive measure for dental caries.
Because older adults may not be fully capable of caring for themselves, it is important to have a caregiver who can help them maintain their personal hygiene, including dental care. It is essential to discuss dental care and self-care with professionals such as dentists and doctors.