Aging comes with its own set of challenges especially in terms of physical health and oral health is generally neglected by most of the seniors. They are at an increased risk of developing several oral health issues which makes it necessary for them to know about age-related oral issues and how to prevent them.
Let’s take a look at some of the commonly prevalent oral health conditions associated with aging and some simple solutions to help prevent these oral health problems.
- Wear and Tear– Over years, your teeth can be easily worn down with all the chewing, grinding and biting. The hard outer protective layer of the teeth – the enamel is subjected to a lot of wear and tear and having it restored by a dentist is a must. To reduce the wear and tear, you can avoid chewing on ice and other hard foods. Another reason that the teeth may get worn down is a poor bite or bruxism (nighttime grinding of teeth). An orthodontist can help you address such oral problems.
- Misaligned Teeth – Against the popular belief, braces aren’t meant just for children or teens anymore. Nowadays, an increasing number of seniors are opting for adult braces to straighten their teeth, correct their bite, get a perfect smile and improve oral health. The types of teeth bracesavailable for seniors today are more affordable, better and less noticeable.
- Dry mouth –Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth can be harmful to your oral health. Saliva not only lubricates the mouth, but it contains beneficial digestive enzymes, acid neutralizers and bacteria-fighting agents. In older adults, the problem of dry mouth generally occurs as side effect of the OTC or prescription medications. Talk to your doctor about such medications. Also, make it habit to drink ample amount of water to keep your mouth from drying out.
- Gum Diseases and Root Decay– Older people also tend to develop cavities and root decay. Gingivitis is the primary stage of gum disease and periodontitis is a more serious form. Redness, swelling, bleeding and inflammation in gums are some of the symptoms to look out for. If these oral problems are left untreated, it causes severe pain and requires more complex dental procedures as the severity of the decay and gum disease increases. It may also lead to loss of teeth eventually. Good oral hygiene routine and regular dental examinations can help prevent such oral problems.
- Oral Cancer – Even with increasing age, there’s a small chance that you could develop cancer of mouth, throat, tongue or lips. One of the most effective ways to prevent this is to stop smoking and limiting consumption of alcohol. Also, make it a habit to use a lip balm with sunscreen whenever you step out in sun. Since symptoms like pain are not experienced in early stages, regular dental checkups are advisable. Your dentist may be able to recognize some warning signs such as red or white patches, sores and any long-lasting changes in your mouth.
- Dental Checkups – Regular dental checkups are one of the simplest preventive measures you can take to maintain good oral health with increasing age. Your dentist can also prescribe a consultation with an orthodontist depending on your needs. There are several affordable orthodontic treatments available today for adults. So even adults can boost their oral health by seeking timely and professional orthodontic care.
Even seniors can enjoy good oral health with a bit of awareness and simple precautions such as regular dental examinations. Remember, healthy teeth and gums are crucial for maintaining good overall physical health as well.
This guest post was graciously provided by Sharon Williams. Sharon’s day job is to handle digital marketing for Koch Orthodontics in Lawrencenville, GA. With a flair for creating compelling content that clears the clutter and connects with the audience in an instant, she writes about dental topics to educate and help her readers. She truly believes that a genuine smile can win a million hearts and talks to her readers about improving their smiles and overall dental health, as well as enhancing their overall lifestyle. In her free time, she likes to organize small meetings in her neighborhood where she brings people together to discuss various topics that she writes about.