Dental Health for Seniors
When it comes to a healthy mouth, it’s never too late. Even if you weren’t the most consistent patient with your daily oral hygiene habits as a child, teen or young adult, you can still earn a gold star from your dentist as an older adult. In fact, there are some significant reasons why practicing good preventative dental care is important as you age. Aging is associated with many specific risk factors for gum disease and other oral health problems. Here are a few top concerns to be aware of.
• Receeding Gums: It’s a natural process in aging. As you get older, your gums will likely start to recede. Keep to a daily flossing routine to slow the recession process and promote healthy gums.
• Osteoporosis. This common condition in older adults may be connected to your oral health in several ways. Studies have shown that periodontal disease can be an indicator of underlying osteoporosis. Furthermore, studies of women with osteoporosis reveal that they have an increased risk for gum disease.
• Dry mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth as an older adult, always tell your dentist. Even if it is caused by a specific medication you take, dry mouth can increase your risk of gum disease. Since saliva is essential in washing away bacteria and neutralizes acids in your mouth, you’ll need to take extra measures to make sure you are on top of your oral health. Your dentist may suggest a antimicrobial mouthwash to prevent cavities if you have a chronic dry mouth condition.
Brushing and flossing may become more difficult as a senior adult. Remember there are several ways technology can help you get your oral hygiene routine accomplished. Today there is a wide variety of electronic toothbrushes and electronic flossers to choose from that require much less dexterity and are very effective in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Most importantly, keep your routine dental checkups as an older adult. Your dentist can catch problems early, which is the key to reducing the risk for serious conditions such as gingivitis that could lead to tooth loss.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Dental Associates