Seniors are often known for their use of dentures–a common solution to the loss of teeth. But this loss of teeth is caused by periodontitis, gum disease that is known for destroying the sockets where teeth are held and increasing the risk of other diseases. In addition to this disease, seniors deal with many other health risks because of their dental life on a daily basis.
Seniors are at risk for excess plaque and tartar buildup much like average person, but because they are older they may be less adept at proper toothbrushing or forget to floss every day. By not taking care of their teeth through regular dental cleanings, their advanced age may make them subject to increased buildup of these nasty substances. And without treatment in the short-run, the plaque and tartar can progress to gingivitis. Gingivitis can be painful to old seniors who are not used to dealing with the bleeding and redness of gum disease. Normal brushing, flossing, and use of mouthwash will prevent gingivitis from progressing to periodontitis.
Additionally, studies have shown that serious heart disease has a correlation with periodontal disease. This is far more concerning for senior citizens than younger generations, because of the already increased risk for heart conditions with old age. The risk factors for each are the same (smoking, poor diet, poor eating choices and lack of vitamins). This additional health risk may make it hard for a senior to manage the problems that could arise. Dental care is even more important so that licensed professionals can monitor the situation.
Many seniors have a daily medicine roster that they follow. The pill case may be beneficial for staying healthy and active, but these medications are also known to dry out the mouth. A side effect of a dry mouth is a lack of saliva. Saliva is the body’s natural defense against harmful bacteria and helps to clean and protect teeth as it washes over them. By decreasing the saliva production, bacteria grow and thrive in the mouths of many older citizens. This is another reason why dental care is especially important for seniors and why seniors should disclose any other medications they are taking with their dentist. Drinking water regularly and avoiding super salty foods can counteract the effects of this medicine in the short run.
Seniors, be sure to get your teeth cleaned regularly and don’t skimp on your nighttime and early morning tooth care! While it may seem repetitive after taking care of your teeth your whole life, this is an important stage in dental care that should not be neglected. Do yourself a favor and schedule an appointment with one of our dentists who can advise you on the best dental regimen for your needs.