Seniors tend to lose one or more teeth as they get older. Many people tend to associate losing teeth with old age since they are not quite aware of its reasons. Several factors play a significant role in older adults losing their teeth, such as oral cancer or tooth decay. If left untreated, these problems lead to severe teeth loss and malnutrition. Having good oral care can ensure that your teeth last a little longer, even with old age. Having poor oral health may affect your speech, nutrition, and self-esteem. According to statistics, 24% of the overall senior population have poor oral health since they are economically disadvantaged. Here are some of the issues that affect oral health amongst old folks.
According to the American Cancer Society, around 54,010 suffer from oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer annually. Oral cancer is most prominent among older people from the age of 62. Seniors are encouraged to visit their local dentists frequently and get screened for oral cancer. It may be hard to catch the disease in its early stages since it’s painless with minimal symptoms. Some symptoms include mouth sores, white patches, and drastic changes in the tongue or lips that last more than two weeks. Routine dental care can be more costly for older adults since most insurance policies don’t cover dentists’ visits. However, seniors are encouraged to look into health policies that cover dental care.
According to the CDC, a high percentage of seniors suffer from gum disease. It equates to 2 in 3 adults, around 68 % above the age of 65 suffer from the condition. Gum disease is a result of bacteria causing mouth irritation, swelling, and bleeding. Lack of immediate treatment causes the gum and teeth to separate, leading to large pockets where food particles collect. It’s painless until the advanced stages, which may destroy the gum, teeth, and bones supporting the teeth. One way to prevent tooth decay is treating gum disease and brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Ensure also to floss your teeth and visit the dentist at least once a year for cleaning and checkup.
Most seniors have tooth decay and cavity problems that may go untreated for years. This is mostly a result of dry mouth. This results from taking particular medication that causes salivary glands in the mouth to produce less saliva. It may also be caused by a health condition such as oral cancer that may directly affect the salivary glands. Saliva prevents tooth decay by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, limiting bacterial growth, and washing away food particles. Some of the dry mouth symptoms include bad breath, difficulty chewing, sore throat, and grooved tongue.
Our teeth become more sensitive as we age, especially when we don’t practice good oral hygiene. Poor diet also plays a big role in tooth sensitivity, including taking cold drinks, alcohol, or sugary treats. Some of the common symptoms include having discomfort or pain while taking cold or hot beverages. Some seniors may experience extreme discomfort while brushing or flossing their teeth. Dentists can easily treat the problem, so ensure you visit your dentist at least once a year for checkups.
At Southland Dental Care, we offer quality and affordable services to everyone, including seniors struggling with dental issues. Don’t hesitate to give us a call and book a consultation for a regular checkup and dental care. Our experienced dentists can treat any dental problems you may be facing and provide you with long-lasting solutions.