Getting older is a privilege. However, as we age, we tend to face different health problems. The same is true for your dental health.
The better your overall dental health throughout your life, the less likely you’ll suffer major issues in your later years. Dry mouth, cavities, tooth loss and oral cancer are the most common problems seniors may encounter. Staying on top of your twice-yearly Fioritto dental cleanings and checkups will allow us to help monitor your oral health, and spot potential issues before they turn into larger problems.
Common dental problems for seniors
Here are the issues seniors are most likely to face:
As we get older, we’re more likely to rely on prescription medication. Hundreds of medications cause dry mouth. This isn’t just inconvenient and unpleasant—it can actually affect your oral health. Your mouth needs saliva to rinse food particles and the acid that plaque causes. When you suffer dry mouth, whether from medication or other reasons, this can lead to more cavities. Check your prescription medications to see if dry mouth is a potential side effect.
There are many ways to deal with dry mouth, starting with drinking more water. Oral moisturizers, like sprays and mouthwash, can also help keep your mouth healthy. To stimulate saliva production, eat candy or chew gum sweetened with xylitol. Some people find using a humidifier helps keep their tissues moist. Finally, ask your doctor if there’s another medication available which does not cause dry mouth.
Our gums can recede as we grow older, which exposes more of the tooth and its root. If the root is exposed, that can increase the likelihood of cavities. That’s because your teeth are protected by enamel, but the roots are not. The bacteria and plaque in your mouth will attack the unprotected root and cause decay.
You may also notice decay around the edges of your fillings. This is common, but still needs to be monitored in case you need additional dental work.
While tooth loss is mostly preventable, it’s more likely to happen as you get older. Gum disease, injury, wear and cancer all lead to tooth loss. It’s crucial you keep up with your dental cleanings and checkups—most people don’t realize they have gum disease until it starts causing them pain in an advanced stage. Staying on top of your appointment ensures your Fioritto dentist can monitor your gum health, as well as the stability and health of your teeth, dentures, bridges and implants.
While tongue, throat or mouth cancer is more common in older adults, it’s a relatively low risk. Better yet, you can take preventative measures. Along with a regular oral hygiene routine and regular checkups, avoid smoking or oral tobacco products. Consider reducing your alcohol consumption or eliminating it entirely.
Schedule a checkup today
Brushing, flossing and rinsing with a dentist-approved mouthwash will preserve your oral health, along with regular dental appointments. Schedule a checkup with Fioritto Family Dental today—we can help you keep a healthy smile throughout your golden years!