Dental Health Issues in Seniors

As you get older, your chance of developing dental issues increases. Many diseases like tooth crowning and mouth dryness are directly connected to aging, so visiting your dentist and practicing good oral hygiene is very important in senior years. So, here are few most common dental issues that trouble seniors so you know what to pay attention to.

Tooth crowding

Many seniors tend to notice food getting stuck in new places in the mouth. Or their teeth are awkwardly overlapping in new places. With years, your teeth are shifting, making your teeth more difficult to clean which leads to decay. Additionally, misaligned teeth often cause tooth erosion and damage to the bone and surrounding tissue. All of this can lead to tooth loss and various other oral ailments. So, if you notice any shift in your teeth, make sure to visit your orthodontist. There’s a possibility you will get fitted with a retainer, braces or a spacer to keep them nice and aligned. More frequent cleanings might also come in handy since you can’t clean your teeth at home as you used to.

Gum disease

If you notice any gum swelling, redness or bleeding, you might have gingivitis that can progress and become quite dangerous for your overall health. Gum disease that stays untreated can cause loss of bones and loss of teeth. The best way to prevent this condition is to practice good oral hygiene and check your dental health regularly. Your doctor will check your gums and prescribe treatment if they see any issues.

Root canal issues

Older people tend to be more prone to root canal issues. Why? Well, the main reason why you might need a root canal procedure is deep decay, repeated dental procedures, cracks and chips in the tooth and trauma to the face. All of these issues come with age, especially if the person didn’t practice good oral health. However, a tooth that has an infected nerve doesn’t necessarily need to go out. Dentists from first world countries with developed dental medicine, like Australia, often recommend root canal therapy. An expert in root canal is able to save your tooth from extraction and keep it functioning and pain-free. If there’s any chance your dentist can save a tooth, they will opt for root canal treatment, because natural teeth always feel and perform better than dentures or implants.

Dry mouth

Another major dental problem in seniors is dry mouth. Many older people tend to have chronic diseases that need medication to be managed and a side-effect of these meds is often mouth dryness (over 400 medications contain this problem on their side-effect list). Moth dryness doesn’t only create an unpleasant feeling in the mouth but also increases the chance of gum recession that leaves teeth roots more susceptible to cavities. If you notice any increased mouth dryness, consult with your dentist and physician. You can ask for different medication, get a prescription for fluoride toothpaste or get saliva substitutes.

Oral cancer

Even though it’s not one of the most common types of cancer, oral cancer produces around 900 new patients every year in Australia alone. It affects everything from lips, tongue and soft palate to gums and develops thanks to a variety of causes. The main risk factors are smoking and drinking, but people with poor oral hygiene and gum disease also have an increased chance of developing oral cancer. The best way to prevent this disease is to quit smoking and drinking and practice good oral hygiene. Early discovery of the disease by your dentist can also boost the chances of survival.

 Even if you don’t exhibit any of these dental issues, make sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year and brush, floss and use mouth wash daily. This way, you’ll have your natural teeth long into the future!

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