Senior Dental Care

Many tend to think that as we head into our golden years, we are past the age of having to worry about cavities and other oral hygiene issues.  However, this is far from the truth because as we age, cavities and other oral health issues actually happen more frequently for several reasons.

One reason older adults are at risk for frequent cavities is that fluoridated water and toothpastes may not have been around when they were growing up, and thus, they have had less exposure to this cavity preventative.

Also, as adults age, gum tissue begins to recede exposing the tooth root to decay. One sign of receding gum tissue is sensitivity in teeth.  When your gums recede, the roots of your teeth are exposed, and they may be sensitive to hot or cold foods or drinks.  A solution to this problem would be a soft tissue graft to cover the exposed tooth root.

Another cause of decay that results from the aging process and from certain medications is dry mouth.  The loss of saliva can cause food particles and acids to remain in the mouth and teeth instead of being washed away, and this can result in increased tooth decay, as well.

Additionally, sometimes as we age our teeth may loosen due to certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.  A periodontist, a dentist who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases of the soft tissues of the mouth and the supporting structures of the teeth,  will need to examine you, discuss your medical history and your oral hygiene practices before he can find a solution to this problem.

As we age, even if we have few or no teeth, or have no visible dental problems, we still need to visit our dentist every year for a complete oral exam.  Your dentist will not only examine your mouth, gums and teeth, but will search for any signs of oral cancer as well as medical problems in the head, mouth and neck areas.

The original article can be read here.