Oral Risks Seniors Face
Oral health is important and an often overlooked component of an older person’s general health and well-being. Spring Hill dentists, Dr. Heinecke and Dr. Ashley and Taylor Massey, know that for many older patients, oral health can become an issue when arthritis or other neurological problems make them unable to brush or floss their teeth as effectively as they once did. In this post, we will discuss common oral health issues our older patients face and how to avoid them.
Oral decay is a common disease in people 65 years and older. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92% of seniors have dental cavities in their teeth. The risk for tooth decay increases because many elderly patients do not frequent the dentist as often as they used to, possibly due to their ability to get around or transportation issues. Thus, cavities go undetected for longer periods of time and can wreak havoc on their smile. Keeping regular appointments with your Henando County dentist is the key to getting cavities treated in a timely fashion.
Oral health issues associated with missing teeth, cavities, dentures that don’t fit properly, gum disease, or infection can cause difficulty eating and can force people to adjust the quality, consistency, and balance of their diet.
Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is also a common issue for a lot of senior citizens. The Oral Cancer Foundations estimates that 20% of elderly people suffer from dry mouth, which means the reduced saliva. Your saliva plays a huge role in preventing tooth decay. Many of our seniors are on multiple medications that may cause dry mouth. To help prevent this, the dentists in Spring Hill suggest drinking lots of water and decreasing your caffeine and alcohol consumption.
Gum disease in an infection of the gums surrounding the tissues that hold teeth in place. While periodontal disease affects people of all ages, it usually worsens with age. In it’s early stages, most people are unaware that they have it, however, in more advanced cases, gum disease can cause sore gums and pain when chewing. Gum disease is usually caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow dental plaque to build up on teeth. If the plaque is not removed it can harden and for tartar, which brushing can’t clean. Tartar can only be removed by a professional in our Spring Hill dentist office.
Proper brushing, flossing, and visiting your Spring Hill dentist regularly can prevent gum disease. Seniors with limited dexterity or who have trouble gripping a toothbrush should ask our dentists in Spring Hill about modifying a handle for easier use or switching to a battery-powered toothbrush.