Senior dental care is essential, even though the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates 27 percent of seniors over 65 have no teeth.
Why Senior Dental Care is Important
Seniors’ ages put them at risk of oral health problems. These health problems include darker teeth, dry mouth, diminished taste, root decay, gum disease, tooth loss, uneven jawbone, denture-induced stomatitis, and thrush. Here are more reasons why senior dental care is essential:
#1 As we age, the enamel gets thinner. Our lifetime consumption of stain-causing foods and beverages becomes more evident on our teeth as the enamel thins. In addition, the darker yellow dentin or the bone-like tissue underlying the tooth enamel begins to show through. The exposure of the dentin causes the teeth to darken in color.
#2 Reduced saliva flow in seniors causes dry mouth. Also, because other health concerns usually accompany old age, seniors often take various medications for their conditions. As a result, this often causes dry mouth.
Sense of taste can diminish. Hearing loss is often associated with the advancement of age. Yet, hearing is not the only sense that reduces in time. The sense of taste begins to weaken as well.
#3 Root decay may be more likely. Exposure of the tooth root to decay-causing acids due to the recession of the gum tissue leads to root decay. In addition, roots lack the enamel to protect them, making them vulnerable to decay.
#4 Older people are also at risk of gum disease. Gum disease development is due to faulty oral hygiene, tobacco use; poor-fitting bridges and dentures; poor diets; and diabetes, cancer, and anemia. Gum diseases, in turn, often lead to tooth loss.
#5 An uneven jawbone is caused by a missing tooth that is not replaced. An empty slot from a missing tooth allows the drifting and shifting of the rest of the teeth into open spaces.
#6 Denture-induced stomatitis is a real problem for denture wearers. Ill-fitting dentures, poor dental hygiene, or a buildup of the fungus Candida albicans causes denture-induced stomatitis or the inflammation of the tissue underlying a denture. In addition, the overgrowth of candida, usually due to poor diet, drugs, or diseases, can lead to thrush and affect the immune system.
It is good to remember that despite age contributing to dental problems, it is not the sole reason behind them.
Medical conditions like arthritis in fingers and hands can make brushing and floss difficult or impossible to perform.
Several ailments may also contribute to dental problems and vice versa. Therefore, to reduce the risks, practicing good oral habits is essential as young as possible.