Guest Post by Dr. Anu Isaac, DMD
With growing older, a lot of good things come your way
- Becoming comfortable financially
- More time to do what you love
- A more stable life
But as you age, you are also vulnerable to many age-related health problems. If your overall health becomes weak, you become susceptible to diseases, including dental issues. And this is why oral healthcare for seniors is so important.
Oral Health Problems in Adults
Great oral health is a lot about our lifestyle choices. For example, the effects of smoking on oral health can be daunting. And on top of that, we do not give oral healthcare the time and dedication it needs, which can lead to serious consequences. Letâ€™s discuss a few oral health problems:
If you don’t take proper care of your teeth, it is easy for plaque to build-up all your life and causes problems when you are older. One of the issues older adults frequently experience is root caries. These can significantly increase the risk of root decay.
The risk of gum disease increases as we age. 17.20% of seniors age 65 and over have periodontal disease.
While lifestyle factors heavily influence oral cancer, it is more prevalent in older adults.
Dry mouth is more common in adults, and is caused because of constant abuse of medicines, or autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome that attacks the tear and salivary ducts.
Oral Healthcare for Seniors â€“ Important Tips and Tricks
Keep up a proper oral hygiene routine
Floss regularly and use a fluoride toothpaste. Since your teeth are more susceptible to oral diseases, you need to clean them regularly as well.
Prevent Dry Mouth
Older adults are more susceptible to dry mouth syndrome, where your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. Medications to help treat problems like urinary infections, depression, and insomnia can help aggravate this condition.
If you think you have the symptoms of dry mouth, talk to a dentist and try and get your medication changed. You can also use over-the-counter mouthwashes that contain xylitol for dry mouth.
Eat the Right Foods
Dairy and dairy products — like low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich in tooth strengthening foods like calcium and phosphorus, which is a must for your diet.
Also, eat a lot of vitamin C, which promotes gum health.
Avoid sticky and chewy food. It might stick to your teeth and form plaque if you don’t rinse your mouth properly.
See Your Dentist Regularly
Dental care for seniors is important as you become more susceptible to dental problems. As you age, the nerves in your teeth become smaller, so by the time you might feel that you need to be treated for something like a cavity, the condition might be severe enough that you might need to lose a tooth.
So it’s best to see your dentist regularly, every few months, just in case you need something done about your teeth.
Get Dental Coverage
Since you are more susceptible to dental problems as you age, it is important to carry dental insurance. Consider buying dental insurance since the cost of treatment otherwise might be really high. Medicare doesn’t cover dental insurance; Medicare beneficiaries can spend approximately $922 on dental expenses from their own pockets.
Remember that dental care for seniors is as important as taking care of physical health. The two are intertwined, and if dental problems are avoided for long, they can turn into more life-consuming, serious problems.
Author Bio: Dr. Anu Isaac, DMD, runs a successful dental practice in Salem, MA. As the founder of Coral Dental Care, she is dedicated to creating healthy, beautiful smiles for her patients and also to educating dental and non-dental community with her engaging articles on all things related to oral health, recent dental innovations, and the latest treatment modalities.