While there are things you can do to delay the effects of aging within the body, it is not possible to stop these changes completely. Time takes its toil on nearly every area of the body – including the mouth. In fact, there are some specific dental health concerns that seniors or aging adults should be aware of as time marches on. Remember that taking care of your mouth can drastically affect the health of the rest of your body.
If you are an older adult, you are facing your second round of “cavity prone years.” Just like kids, aging adults can be more susceptible to tooth decay, but for different reasons. A primary culprit to cavities in the aging population is dry mouth. Not only is low saliva production a natural effect of aging, but countless medications (over 500) can lead to dry mouth, including those for high blood pressure, Parkinson’s, high cholesterol, Alzheimer’s and more. Unfortunately, we need adequate amounts of saliva to rinse away bacteria and food debris as well as neutralize the acids in our mouth. It is important to tell your dentist if you are experiencing dry mouth, as there are ways to restore moisture to the mouth without going off your needed prescriptions.
Periodontal disease should also be on your radar if you are a senior citizen. Gum disease, a serious oral health condition, often begins when plaque accumulates along the gum line. A thorough brushing and flossing routine is key to preventing gum disease. Therefore, if you have lost some dexterity and coordination as you’ve aged, consider an electric toothbrush or water flosser to ensure you are keeping your teeth and gums clean. At its advanced stages, gum disease can cause tooth loss as well as compromise the health of your heart.
According to the American Cancer Society, the average age of diagnosis for mouth and throat cancer is 62. Oral cancer is highly treatable when caught early. Therefore, it is imperative that you recognize the signs of mouth cancer, which include open sores that won’t heal, white or red patches and any changes in the lips, tongue or lining of the mouth. In addition, keep up with your routine dental exams, as an oral cancer screening is always included.
At Gainesville Dental Group, we are qualified to treat and protect your smile at every stage of life. Our dentists are keenly aware of the unique oral health concerns that seniors face and we will tailor your treatment plan accordingly. To learn more about our dental care services for aging adults, please give us a call.
Posted on behalf of Gainesville Dental Group