As we journey through life, our bodies undergo various changes, and our dental health is no exception. The golden years bring about a new set of challenges and needs for our teeth and gums. Our dental office in Nashua has been catering to these evolving needs of our elderly patients. Here are some of the dental concerns that come as our patients get older.
Gum Disease: Gum disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis, becomes more prevalent with age. The CDC has found that 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease. This is often due to a combination of decreased saliva production, receding gums, and cumulative plaque buildup over the years. Regular dental check-ups, proper brushing, flossing, and possibly additional dental appointments for more specialized periodontal care are essential.
Dry Mouth: Many seniors experience xerostomia, or dry mouth, often as a side effect of medications or systemic health issues like diabetes. A dry mouth can lead to a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Staying hydrated, using saliva substitutes, and possibly adjusting medications can help alleviate this problem.
Tooth Loss and Replacement Options: Tooth loss is more common in seniors, primarily due to a lifetime of wear and potential periodontal disease. Dentures, bridges, and dental implants offer viable options for tooth replacement, enhancing both function and aesthetics. Dental implants, like the ones offered at our Nashua dentist office, especially are a popular solution for replacing missing teeth since they act as a permeant, natural looking and feeling replacement for missing teeth.
Increased Risk of Oral Cancer: As people age, the risk of oral cancer increases. Regular dental visits, where oral cancer screenings can be performed, are crucial for early detection. Avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol, and maintaining a healthy diet, can reduce risk factors.
Sensitivity and Wear of Teeth: Years of use can make teeth more susceptible to wear, cracking, and sensitivity. Using desensitizing toothpaste and avoiding overly hard or acidic foods can help manage these issues.
The Impact of Systemic Health on Oral Health: Conditions like diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease can directly affect oral health. Working with both medical and dental professionals is important for integrated care.
The Importance of Continued Oral Hygiene: Maintaining a regular oral hygiene routine is vital, regardless of age. Seniors might need to adapt their approach to oral care, possibly using aids like electric toothbrushes or floss holders.
Aging is an inevitable part of life, but for the senior residents of Nashua deteriorating oral health doesn’t have to be. With the right care and attention from our dentists, seniors can maintain healthy teeth and gums well into their later years.