Good oral health and proper dental care are important at any age. However, the elderly often face greater challenges when it comes to caring for their teeth. Some of these challenges are due to prolonged wear and tear on the teeth over the individual’s lifespan. Other dental complications can arise because of various diseases and ailments often found among the elderly. Listed below are a few oral problems that some seniors may face due to advanced aging:
Increased Tooth Sensitivity
The enamel, which is the protective outer coating of the teeth, can begin to erode over time, exposing the inner tissue of the tooth to anything that enters the mouth. When something hot or cold reaches this erosion the tissue, such as a hot or cold beverage, can cause intense discomfort to the area.
Tooth distortion can be caused by years of drinking and eating foods that stain the teeth or by changes in the tissue of the inner part of the tooth. Without proper oral care and management, over time the teeth can appear dingy and yellow.
Receding Gum Line
Another painful problem that can occur as a person ages is a receding gum line. When the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, the roots are left exposed. These areas can cause extreme pain when touched by a beverage, food particle, or even a toothbrush. These areas are also more prone to suffer tooth decay when left untreated.
A dry mouth is caused by the reduction of saliva being produced, dry mouth can be the result of medication side effects, cancer treatments, or other various other diseases.
Reduced Sense of Taste
Not only can the aging process itself affect the taste buds of the elderly, but dentures, various diseases, and certain medications can also dull the sense of taste in seniors as well.
Gum disease is a result of plaque buildup or food residue on the teeth. Ill-fitting dentures, loose bridges, tobacco use, poor diet, and diseases such as diabetes or anemia can all play a significant role in causing this plaque to form or residue to remain on the teeth. While these ailments can be found among all age groups, the risk of developing these diseases increases with age.
Tips for Healthy Teeth for Seniors
Although dental problems can become more prevalent as a person advances in age, there are some ways to help curb these risks, such as:
- Brushing teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- You’ve heard of this before, Flossing at least once a day! The problem today is that people don’t take flossing seriously. Flossing is nearly as important as brushing your teeth.
- Using an antibacterial mouthwash
- Attending regularly scheduled dental exams and cleanings
- While growing older can increase the chances of certain dental problems, by striving to maintain a good oral hygiene routine and visiting the dentist on a regular basis, many of these risks can be reduced, if not averted altogether.
Smile Makeover of LA is committed to serving the senior community in Glendale CA and all the surrounding cities in Southern California. No senior should go without seeing a dentist at least twice a year. For those seniors that are on a low fixed or limited financial income and cannot afford any dental care, please contact our office and learn more about our senior citizen programs. Dr. Gurgen (George) and Astghik (Stella) Sahakyan are both prominent dentists in Glendale California and are highly valued in their community for their work and love towards senior citizens that need dental care.