Besides long life, we as Americans live longer due to the subtle way of retaining our natural teeth than we do in the past. Due to the increasing rate of dental treatments, older adults are now vulnerable to certain diseases, hence their battle with keeping up essential daily oral health practices.
As we age, it is essential to keep up good oral hygiene to maintain a stable health condition. However, problems like difficulty in chewing, speaking, swallowing, smiling, or other mouth-related activities may surface when there is an issue with the mouth. At the time, medications for other diseases could affect a person’s oral health condition as it is possible for a bad oral health condition could adversely affect existing sicknesses like diabetes. These and many more poses a signal of concern before older adults which needs urgent attention. So what can be done to avoid these occurrences?
Dental Concerns for Older Adults
The importance which older adults attach to their oral health is discouraging. Most people do not know that cavities aren’t just for kids, and a recent study confirms this. According to this study, nearly one-third of people over 65 had untreated dental caries (cavities). All these make gum recession begin to affect the tooth both on the crown (chewing surface) and root of older people. And what are the best ways to, notice this since most people are ignorant of these occurrences in their mouth? The idea is to have regular checkups for untreated dental caries, which causes pains, requires complex procedures, and may eventually result in loss of the teeth.
While the rate of dental caries is on the rise, gum disease is another major oral health issue faced by older adults as well. As this disease is caused by plaque bacteria, which lead to tooth loss in adults, it also makes the sticky biofilm stay firm on the surface of the teeth. And this is why you need a properly fitting denture so your dental health won’t get worse, especially with diseases such as diabetes or cancer.
Sometimes, it might be challenging to exercise routine brushing and flossing due to dental issues, which includes arthritis or similar conditions. Though to make daily cleaning more comfortable, special brushes with larger grips and floss holders, mouth rinsing, and in-office treatments could be recommended. All these measures are ways to bring the dental disease under control.
As deadly as oral cancer is among older Americans, which lead to death, it’s also of grave concern at any age. It is however, essential to detect all these changes in the mouth earlier to make its control easier, thereby improving survival rates. This is why it is recommended that older people have consistent dental checkup and screening for oral cancer.
Do you know saliva contains beneficial digestive enzymes, acid neutralizers, and bacteria-fighting agents? Now imagine the absence of all these due to dry mouth (xerostomia) and the harm it could cause to your oral health.
The causal effect of over-the-counter medications could be low production of saliva. So for those that aren’t aware, especially older adults, it isn’t healthy for the body to produce lesser than the required saliva.
Oral Hygiene For Life
Against the generally conceived idea that dental issues and teeth loss were an inevitable consequence of aging. Age isn’t a justifiable factor for this but the inability to properly care for your teeth, which makes it last for a lifetime. And while the mouth experiences change with aging, you could maintain high care for your natural teeth. How? Through a consistent practice of good oral hygiene.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush for your teeth daily or any other brush that helps your dental health. Make use of floss to clean in between your teeth, or another type of interdental cleaner, at least once a day. Eat healthy foods with plenty of water and never forget to take oral exams to be sure of your hygiene.