An estimated 25% American adults aged 60 or above have lost all natural teeth, according to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dental and oral health issues are widely overlooked by a large number of senior citizens. A vast majority of older Americans also grew up without water fluoridation and fluoride products, which has contributed to the decline of their oral health.
Here are some common oral health challenges faced by seniors that you need to be aware of and discuss with your dentist on your next check-up:
Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is a condition caused by reduced flow of saliva. In older adults, dry mouth can exist as a result of medications or dehydration. The problem isn’t necessarily limited to senior citizens, as anyone feeling nervous or stressed can also experience symptoms of dry mouth. If the issue persists for a long period of time, it can lead to chewing and swallowing problems in older adults.
Combat the effects of dry mouth by taking small sips of water throughout the day. Alcohol consumption contributes to dry mouth; so keep your alcohol intake as less as possible. Sugar-free chewing gums and lozenges can also be used to minimize symptoms of dry mouth.
Infection of the gums and surrounding tissues that hold the teeth in place are known as periodontal diseases. The diseases are caused by plaque build-up around teeth and can lead to further oral health complications, if left untreated. Studies suggest that there exists a strong connection between prevalence of periodontitis and increasing age in America.
Senior citizens are at a high risk of gum diseases because they are often unable to brush and floss properly. As a result, plaque and tartar continues to deposit on their gum lines and eventually causes irreplaceable damage to their gums and jaws.
Your local dentist can help remove the plaque and tartar buildup through scaling and root planing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 American adults aged 65 or older have lost all of their teeth. Like most oral health problems, tooth loss and tooth decay are caused by plaque build-up and can be easily prevented with proper oral hygiene practices. Drinking fluoridated water can also help reduce the risk of tooth loss and dental caries. Senior citizens can choose to get dentures or dental implants to combat this issue.
Older Americans are at a much higher risk of oral cancer, as about 26.9% of all oral cavity and pharynx cancer related deaths occur in patients aged between 55 to 64.
The root cause of oral cancer is the prolonged use of tobacco-based products, such as cigarettes. Heavy use of alcohol can also lead to oral cancer. As the treatment for oral cancer works best before the disease has spread, it’s important to note early symptoms of the problem. Schedule an appointment with your local dentist if you spot ant red or white sores in your mouth, with swelling of jaw.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders are oral health issues related to the joint that connects the temporal bones of your skull with your jaw. The disorder can be a source of chronic pain around jaw, facial joints, neck and shoulders.
Adults with arthritis are at a high risk of TMJDs. If you experience any popping or clicking sounds as you open your mouth, schedule an appointment with your dentist to get yourself checked.
Taking care of your oral health as you grow older can be tricky, but with professional cleaning and regular dental checkups you can prevent a number of oral health problems and have healthy gums and teeth for a lifetime.
If you’re looking for a dentist for yourself or a family member in Palmdale, head over to Boulevard Dental. We offer exceptional preventive, restorative and cosmetic dentistry services to people of all ages. Whether you need a simple dental filling or an osseous surgery, our team of dental experts, led by Dr. David Gobrial, will assure that you leave with a healthy smile.
Schedule an appointment today, by giving us a call at 661-947-7737.