Dental care is important through all stages of life, from infancy to elderly. However, the demands of oral health care can certainly change depending on your age. When it comes to geriatric dentistry, there are some important things to keep in mind when caring for your teeth and gums. First and foremost, you should know that a healthy mouth is essential for an aging adult, as oral health and whole body health are closely linked together. Here are some common concerns that plague the geriatric population in terms of dental health care.
Anyone can have a dry mouth, also known as xerostomia. However, aging adults can suffer most because a dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription medications that seniors take. While a dry mouth can make it difficult to swallow and speak, it also puts your oral health at significant risk. We need proper amounts of saliva to rinse away food debris and bacteria as well as neutralize acids in our mouth. Therefore, a consistently dry mouth can lead to frequent cavities, gum disease and bad breath. While you may not be able to stop your prescription medication, a dentist can help you combat dry mouth so that your smile stays healthy.
Your teeth are certainly designed to last a lifetime. However, the natural aging process and years of wear can weaken teeth and even cause them to fall out or need extraction. Regardless of how old you are, replacing missing teeth is critical. Without bridging gaps in your smile, you are subject to shifting teeth, oral health issues, jaw pain, speech challenges and chewing limitations. Dental implants or implant-supported dentures are the unrivaled choice for replacing missing teeth in adults of all ages.
Dental Hygiene Challenges
As you age, you may lose the dexterity, eyesight and coordination it takes to properly clean your teeth and gums. In result, brushing and flossing can become a major challenge. To combat these changes, seniors should consider better-suited dental hygiene tools, such as an electric toothbrush, water flosser or other easy-to-maneuver devices. Daily brushing and flossing is critical to avoiding serious dental health complications in the geriatric population.
Last but not least, don’t skip routine dental visits just because you are in your late stages of life. In fact, these visits become even more important, as it can be more difficult for the elderly to recover and heal from dental infections once they have progressed. Make sure you to keep your preventative cleanings on your calendar every six month, even if it means arranging for a driver or caregiver to bring you to your appointment.
Dr. Tejal Kekade proudly offers comprehensive dental care for all ages, from pediatrics to geriatrics! We can even handle complex dental treatments for aging adults. Call today to book your dental visit.