Four Oral Health Problems Facing Seniors
As people age, the focus on proper, regular healthcare becomes more and more important. However, oral health and dental hygiene often fall to the wayside as other medical costs begin to take precedent. That’s an unfortunate reality because later stages of life require the greatest focus on dental health than any other. These oral health problems are among the most common and worrisome, but can be avoided with proper dental care:
A common issue for seniors on multiple medications for chronic illness or disease is dry mouth. Caused by a reduction in saliva production, this isn’t just an uncomfortable side effect – it can have negative impacts on your oral health. Because saliva is so important for washing away harmful acids that cause cavities, reduced saliva in the mouth can exasperate that risk. Brushing often, drinking plenty of water, and chewing sugar-free gum can help replace the saliva lost.
An infection in the gums and oral tissues is designated as gum disease, but while it can affect people at every age level, it’s much more common in seniors. The risk of developing gum disease increases as you age and the signs aren’t always apparent, as the symptoms that cause pain often occur at late stages. Getting regular oral health checkups can catch early problems and treat gum disease before it worsens.
Cavities and tooth decay happen throughout every stage of life, but no more so than in seniors. Dental experts estimate that 92 percent of people over 65 have dental cavities simply because they don’t go to the dentist as often as they should.
Whether caused by sensitive teeth, gums, missing teeth, or dentures, difficulty eating can result in a decreased quality of life. Seniors that experience difficulty eating and do not seek dental treatment often sacrifice the quality and balance of their meals in order to offset the chances of pain or sensitivity, which can have a detrimental impact on nutrition as well as oral health.
If you or a loved one hasn’t been keeping up on their dental checkups, spring is the perfect time to schedule an appointment with Avila Dental. The leading practice in Seattle’s Northgate area, we’re conveniently located on 5th Ave NE off NE Northgate Way and can serve patients of all ages. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or for an evaluation of your dental health.
Image source, labelled for reuse