Caring for your teeth is important at any age. Oral health actually affects your overall health, so it’s important to maintain proper dental care and accommodate the needs of your teeth. Learn more about senior oral health care and the common issues that seniors face by reading on.
As you age, there are four major concerns for adults. These oral health concerns include cavities, dry mouth, tooth loss, and oral cancer. While these problems can lead to additional health concerns, these issues can be controlled and cared for by making frequent visits to your dentist.
Cavities happen to people of all ages. For seniors, the gums of teeth recede or pull back, allowing for more tooth surface exposure. The more exposed the tooth and its root, the more likely it is for the tooth to be attacked with plaque and bacteria. If teeth are not properly cared for, they may rot, decay, or face gum disease.
Over 500 different medications lead to dry mouth. It is more than likely that a senior is taking a medication that contributes to dry mouth, but there are ways to prevent this uncomfortable and potentially harmful problem. Dry mouth is caused when the production of saliva is reduced. When this happens, it is easier for food particles and acid to attack the teeth. To prevent dry mouth, consider over-the-counter moisturizers, drinking more water, using sugar-free lozenges, getting a humidifier for your home, avoiding irritating foods and drinks, and talking to your physician.
It is estimated that adults over the age of 65 have lost an average of 13 out of their 32 teeth, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Even though these numbers are high, tooth loss is preventable. By making routine visits to your dentist, decay, gum disease, and wear can be treated and tooth loss can be prevented.
The final oral health concern is oral cancer. Nearly 50,000 cases of mouth, throat, and tongue cancer are diagnosed each year, according to the American Cancer Society. The average age of those diagnosed with these cancers is 62. During a routine exam, seniors are inspected for signs of cancer. When consistently inspected, individuals can reduce their risk of serious oral cancer concerns. Another way seniors can reduce their risk of oral cancer is by brushing, flossing, visiting the dentist, quitting smoking, and quitting alcohol consumption.
If you or a senior you are caring for is in need of dental care, consider the offices of Joseph C. Lattinelli, DMD. Our office proudly serves the New York, New York area. To get in touch with our office and schedule an appointment, visit our website or give us a call at 212-752-7188 today!