Many seniors don’t seek out the specialized dental care they need. Older people, especially those over the age of 65, are at a higher risk for certain dental problems. Gum disease, chronic health conditions, tooth loss and oral cancers are all more common in people in this age group. About two-thirds have gum disease, a progressive condition that can lead to tooth loss. Almost one in five seniors has lost all of their natural teeth. Oral cancers are typically first diagnosed around the age of 62. Per the CDC..
Chronic diseases common in older adults often require the use of prescription medications that can cause dry mouth, which results in reduced saliva flow. Saliva plays an important role in the prevention of tooth decay. Saliva contains minerals that help to keep teeth more resistant to decay. Saliva also helps to wash away the food particles that oral bacteria can use to produce acids that attack the tooth’s enamel, weakening it and setting the stage for a cavity to form.
For seniors who have lost all or some of their teeth, dentures or partials that fit and work correctly are essential. If the dentures hurt or move, it will encourage the consumption only of soft foods that are easy to chew. The fruits and vegetables essential for general health may be missing from the diet.
For seniors in particular, regular dental checkups can prevent tooth loss from root cavities. The gums naturally recede to some degree as part of the aging process. This exposes more of the tooth’s root and makes root decay more likely. Root decay, especially if it’s advanced, is sometimes not repairable with a filling or even a crown. In some cases, the tooth must be extracted. Frequent dental checkups will help to spot a root decay issue while it’s still minor enough for conservative treatment.
If you are a senior in the Scottsdale or Downtown Phoenix area and need one of these dental services contact one of our local offices.