Being an older adult doesn’t necessarily guarantee dentures. With an understanding of the importance of dental well-being on the rise, older people are keeping their natural teeth longer, and so dental care for seniors is important as ever now.
Common issues that arise with older teeth:
- Gum Disease: Pain, inflammation, bleeding, difficulty chewing are all signs of gum disease. Otherwise known as periodontal disease, gum disease is one of the most common problems older adults experience which could ultimately lead to loss of teeth. Caring for the gums is especially important for people with diabetes as recent studies have connected gum disease and worsening symptoms of diabetes.
- Dry Mouth: You may not think it, but prevalent health concerns in older adults such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart issues are connected to dry mouth – through side effects of medication. Dry mouth, caused by the lack of saliva, can lead to difficulty chewing, swallowing, and speaking but it can also lead to even more serious concerns such as tooth decay and gum disease.
- Root Decay: Tooth decay is often the first concern that comes to mind when thinking of dental health issues, however older adults often experience root decay. Root decay is caused by the fact that cavities form at the gum line more frequently in older people. Diabetes and a diet high in sugar exacerbates this issue.
The typical dental hygiene habits like brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash remain highly important in taking care of older teeth. Other easy ways to take care of teeth at an older age is to increase calcium and reduce sugar in your diet as well as drink plenty of water and ensure to replace your toothbrush every three months.
Lastly, one of the best ways to take care of teeth in older adults is to visit the dentist more frequently. By seeing the dentist for repeated comprehensive exams and cleaning problems can be spotted right away allowing for more treatment options. Routine cleaning should continue to be scheduled twice a year in your later years.
What can you expect at a dental visit when you’re in your later years?
During a check-up the dentist will check your face and neck for skin discolouration, moles, and sores. Inside your mouth they will look at the following:
- Bite – Looking for any issues with how your teeth come together
- Jaw – Listening for any clicking or popping
- Inner Cheeks – Looking for signs of ulcers or infections
- Salivary Glands & Lymph Nodes – Looking for lumps or areas of swelling
- Tongue & Palate – Looking for signs of oral cancer or infection
- Teeth – Looking at the overall condition of teeth and fillings
After an initial look at the above, the dentist may need further imaging such as x-rays in order to get a complete understanding of your oral health. From there, a treatment plan will be created to take care of any concerns or issues that were discovered.
Here at Image Dental, we see it as a privilege to help you take care of your teeth at every stage of life. Call us at (403) 342-5800 or send us a message to [email protected] to schedule your next appointment.