Many people assume that losing their teeth is a natural aging process, however that is wrong. If you properly care for your teeth and gums, it’s very possible to keep your teeth as a senior. This blog will go over the importance of dental health care for seniors.
How Age Affects Dental Health
As you age, your teeth and gums experience change. A lifetime of eating and exposure to acidic foods wear off layers of tooth enamel. Teeth become less sensitive, and gum tissue naturally recedes, but this doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to lose your teeth with age. With proper dental care, your teeth can be conserved throughout your senior years. That’s why it’s so important that people keep up with their regular dental checkups. This way, dentists can catch issues early, thus taking preventive steps to avoid dental issues.
Common Senior Dental Health Problems
It’s important to know the biggest dental health issues seniors have to avoid the issue early on before it gets worse. Dental issues can happen at any age; however, the following dental problems are especially common with seniors:
- Tooth decay – After many years, of course it’s natural to experience some wear and tear. What matters is how you respond to the problems once the signs begin to appear. That is why constant communication with your dentist is important
- Gum recession – It’s natural for gums to recede, however it can significantly be slowed with the proper dental care
- Bad breath – Bad breath can take place from various different factors, such as having gum disease, taking certain medications, or by not properly cleaning dentures
- Dark teeth – The dentin in your teeth naturally changes, which results in the change of color of teeth
- Teeth loss – Untreated dental issues such as tooth decay, root decay, gum recession, and gum disease can lead to teeth loss
Why Senior Dental Care is so Important
Senior dental care is essential as it not only allows you to keep your smile, but also helps with your overall health. Taking care of your teeth and gums can help you reduce the risk of other serious illnesses such as:
- Heart disease – The bacteria in the mouth has been shown to make its way through blood vessels, which contributes to cardiovascular disease, and sometimes even to strikes and heart attacks
- Diabetes – Seniors with diabetes are more prone to developing gum disease. It’s dangerous because having gum disease makes it more difficult to control blood sugar levels
- Respiratory infections – The bacteria from poor dental health can reach the lungs and can cause infections, often leading to pneumonia
How to Care for Your Teeth as a Senior
Getting older is not an excuse to stop paying attention to your dental health. Here are some dental care tips for seniors:
- Practice good hygiene habits – Brush your teeth in the morning and before going to bed. Also, aim to brush and floss after every meal. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and be gentle while washing your teeth
- Drink lots of water – water has many health benefits for your teeth and gums
- Stop smoking – smoking puts your teeth at greater risk for gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss
- Visit the dentist regularly – Your dentist is your best friend when it comes to ensuring your teeth and gums’ health. Regular cleaning and oral exams will help your dentist catch any issues early on
Taking care of dental health is important in helping seniors have a better overall health. At Dental Arts, we want all of our patients to have the healthiest teeth possible. We hope this blog helped you understand the importance of dental health for seniors. For all of your dental needs, give us a call at (619) 444-1001 or visit our website to book an appointment. We are located at 707 Arnele Avenue, El Cajon, CA 92020.