Key Oral Health Concerns for Seniors

Key Oral Health Concerns for Seniors

As we grow older, our bodies become susceptible to deficiencies that did not afflict us in our youth. This is a fact of life and is the price that comes with the privilege of old age. When it comes to oral health, it is not uncommon for seniors to suffer from conditions that their younger counterparts do not face. Understanding these conditions is often the first step towards finding a lasting remedy. At Fairway Dental Urgent Care Clinic, we believe that everyone deserves to enjoy perfect dental health regardless of their age. This is why we are always committed to helping seniors identify what they’re most likely to deal with in their sunset years, and then walk them towards actionable solutions.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, sometimes referred to as xerostomia, is a condition that many seniors experience. As the name suggests, dry mouth involves one feeling as if their mouth is parched. It is not the most pleasant feeling, and it can often drive you up the wall. Dry mouth often happens when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva as required. Saliva, an often ignored and despised component of the human body, is actually quite crucial in ensuring your well-being. Saliva helps in the digestion process and in keeping your mouth bacteria free. It washes away the food debris and bacteria and ensures your mouth is in good state. If you take medication that negatively impacts saliva production, you are likely to experience dry mouth. Conditions such as diabetes and yeast infection in your mouth can also lead to dry mouth. In many instances, seniors are victims of dry mouth because of the medications they take.

Tooth Loss

Improper dental hygiene over the years can have a severe impact on the number of teeth you are left with as you enter retirement. Seniors have had a lot of years of exposure to potentially harming dental habits, and it is not uncommon to find most seniors missing several teeth. According to statistics, over a quarter of all seniors do not have any teeth left. As a senior with some teeth left, it is important to ensure that you do not lose all your teeth. The best way to do so is to practice proper brushing and flossing, and to see a dentist regularly. But don’t be discouraged—even if you have lost all your teeth, you can still speak to your dentist about replacement teeth. Dentures and implants can give you back your ability to speak properly and eat the foods you like.

Bad Breath

The terrible thing about bad breath is that it not only makes you uncomfortable but it also makes the people around you uncomfortable. Bad breath can be a real nasty culprit as far as putting an abrupt end to otherwise pleasant social interactions. In seniors, bad breath can often be attributed to dry mouth, poor dental hygiene, and even gum disease. Bad breath is often the symptom of an underlying issue so it is essential that you pay attention to what your body is telling you. In some instances, bad breath might be an indication of an ongoing infection in the body. If you practice proper dental hygiene and still seem to be struggling with bad breath, book an appointment with your dentist for a consultation.

Lack of Proper Denture Care

Taking care of dentures is not exactly fun but it is necessary. For some people, dentures are the perfect opportunity to get out of brushing teeth. Often, the argument advanced is that dentures are fake teeth and therefore not sensitive enough to warrant regular brushing or cleaning. This could not be further from the truth. Dentures need proper care. If you do not clean your dentures properly, they will likely become stained and discolored. Also, dentures can easily allow plaque to accumulate. When plaque accumulates in dentures, the end result is that your gums become irritated and this poses a risk of gum disease.

Yellowing of Teeth

As one ages, the different processes taking place in the body result in various changes. One of these changes is the discoloration of teeth. Many seniors tend to have this challenge. That being said, there are seniors that exacerbate the situation by engaging in choices that make the situation worse. If you are a big fan of cigarettes and caffeine, you are likely to have teeth that are significantly more discolored than your non-smoking counterparts. Even if you like your smoke and your coffee, ensure that you are prioritizing your well-being first by engaging in proper dental hygiene and by indulging in your choices in moderation.

Cavities and Gum Disease

Gum disease is an issue that is prevalent among the older generation and there’s a key reason why this is so. Gum disease is the inflammation, and subsequent degeneration, of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth. For gums to become fully inflamed and infected, there needs to be an accumulation of plaque and bacteria, brought on by poor dental hygiene. Often the detrimental effects of poor oral hygiene are seen and felt well into your older years, after the damage has already been done. The same theory holds for cavities. If you are a sweet tooth in your youthful years, you are likely to struggle with cavities later on when you are older. When it comes to gum disease and cavities, it is always better to prevent than to treat. Prevention in this case includes properly brushing your teeth with the right type of toothbrush and flossing every night before bed. It is also advisable to visit your dentist at least twice per year so that they can detect developing cavities and signs of gum disease before either become full-blown.

At Fairway Dental Urgent Care Clinic, we encourage our senior patients to take charge of their dental healthy by practicing proper dental habits and visiting our offices for regular check-ups. Even though age might cause some dental issues, you can ensure these are only few and far between by following the advice of your dentist and being keen on your dental well-being in as far as the choices you make on a daily basis. Pay us a visit today at our Kitchener dental office and our able and willing staff will discuss with you any dental concerns that you might have and hopefully allay any fears that you have been dealing with.