As we age, there are many health risks to keep in mind. But one thing that tends to fall on to the back burner is the state of our oral health as we get older. These are the seven main dental health concerns that are more common in people who are 65 years of age or older.
- Dry mouth- The average person produces 1.5 quarts of saliva every day. Sounds gross right? But that saliva actually helps in the process of breaking down food and washing away any bad bacteria, which prevents any potential for tooth decay or bad breath. 90% of people that are over the age of 65 are taking some form of prescription medications, many of which list ‘dry mouth’ as one of their potential side effects. Dry mouth can also be caused by frequent infections, changes to the levels of hormones in your body, and any allergies you may have.
- Bad breath- Nobody likes to talk to someone and smell the ghost of their lunch on their breath when they talk back. To treat this bad breath odor, you have to find the underlying cause. A dry mouth, gum disease, and poor dental hygiene will all contribute to bad breath, as well as other various health issues. You should visit your dentist regularly to get teeth proper cleanings and check-ups to rule out any other potential cause of halitosis.
- Tooth loss- over 27% of people over 65 have no remaining teeth. Typically, this is due to smoking or poor dental hygiene. Visit your dentist regularly to maintain a healthy smile and if you have already experienced tooth loss, talk to your dentist about dental implants.
- Cavities- over time, cavities develop more easily, putting seniors at a higher risk. Limit your intake of foods and drinks with high sugar content, brush and floss daily, and visit your dentist for regular cleanings. You can also rinse with an antiseptic mouth rinse to aid in the prevention of cavities.
- Poor denture care- don’t believe the myth that dentures aren’t as delicate as your regular teeth. Plaque can build up on your dentures, causing them to break down over time. You need to brush them daily, rinse them after meals, and soak in a cleaning solution overnight. You should also brush your gums daily with a soft-bristle toothbrush to maintain their health.
- Gum disease- This takes years to develop, and it’s slowly, over a long period of time so it’s more common among the older generation. The best prevention is good oral hygiene so you should visit your dentist for regular cleanings.
- Tooth discoloration- Unfortunately, this is typically a natural effect of aging. It can be exaggerated by tobacco products, coffee, soda, and tea. You can talk to your dentist about various products or services that can help.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact us to set up an appointment. We can discuss options for treatment so you can get back to having a healthy smile.