At different ages, we all need specific healthcare. Senior patients have a different set of needs than kids or younger adults. Many patients don’t know that they need to change the way they take care of their smiles as they age, but a good dentist should partner with you to maintain good in-office and at-home dental care routines to ensure you keep a healthy, beautiful smile for a lifetime. In this post, we’ll discuss the effects of aging on your oral health and how you and your dentist can work together to improve the lifetime health of your smile during dental checkups and by optimizing at-home oral hygiene routines.
Common Oral Health Issues for Seniors
There are many ways that oral health changes as we age. Some of the most common oral health issues seniors struggle with include:
- Dry mouth – taking more prescription medications coupled with reduced saliva production as we age can lead to dry mouth. This oral health issue may seem like nothing more than a nuisance, but actually, it can lead to numerous serious concerns, including tooth decay, gum disease, and excessive dental wear.
- Increased risk for gum disease – dry mouth and decreased immune function can both increase patients’ risk to suffer from periodontal (gum) disease due to the greater levels of plaque production and diminished ability to neutralize plaque acidity.
- Tooth loss – older patients are more likely to lose teeth as years of dental wear and damage take their toll.
Gum Disease & Aging
As we age, we’re at greater risk for systemic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. What many patients don’t know is that gum disease increases your risk for and the severity of your illness. Gum disease has been connected to numerous whole body health issues, and unless