People of all ages are prone to oral conditions and dental issues. However, just like young children, senior citizens who are not able to care for themselves owing to aging require extra care when it comes to dental health maintenance. The most common dental issues faced by the old ones include:
Tooth discoloration or yellowing of teeth comes with aging. Tooth enamel weakens as you age resulting in yellowing of teeth. Foods and drinks like wine, coffee, tea and colas, and habits like smoking can cause teeth to stain later in life.
Xerostomia or Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is the aftermath of reduced saliva production which is usually caused by ingesting oral medication. The condition may cause difficulty in speaking, eating, swallowing, and decreased taste sensation.
Cavities and tooth decay occur due to the continuous breakdown of teeth owing to activities and accumulation of bacteria on the exterior of the tooth. Gum recession is another factor that puts seniors at an increased risk of dental caries.
Preventing Dental Problems as You Age
It is not abnormal to get cavities or develop tooth decay or any other dental issue which was not present when you were younger, in later years of your life. However, with the accessibility of advanced oral care treatments and tools, a large number of seniors are able to keep their natural teeth for a longer period of time.
Additionally, here are some tips that along with a proper diet and lifestyle may contribute towards improving oral health maintenance:
- Use fluoride toothpaste and incorporate fluoride mouthwash, preferably after every meal.
- Chew sugar-free gum and drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated, especially when you are on medication that causes your mouth to dry out.
- Use a chlorhexidine gluconate-containing gel or an antibacterial mouthwash to stop the building up of plaque and bacteria.
- Say no to alcohol, tobacco, and smoking since cause dental problems and increase the risk of oral cancer.
- Lastly, do not miss out your dental check-ups. Some seniors fear dentists or may avoid seeing one due to medical conditions or aging. Help such seniors find the right dentist and attend regular check-ups for improved oral health.
These are some tips to help seniors maintain optimal dental health.