Oral Health for Aging Adults: Signs & Symptoms to Pay Attention To
Gum and dental health are among the most-neglected aspects of senior health. It’s easy to assume that tooth loss is a natural part of aging, so there’s no point in prolonging the inevitable.
But the new standard of oral health for aging adults means people can keep their smiles for as long as possible. Staying alert to the oral effects of aging and being proactive are the keys to success.
How Aging Will Change Your Mouth
Here are a few changes you can expect to notice as you continue to age:
- Decreased saliva flow
- Sunken smile
- Wrinkles and sagging muscles
- Gum recession
- Difficulty keeping your teeth clean due to limited mobility
You’ll also become at-risk for a host of dental diseases and complications:
Gum disease – Gum inflammation tends to occur frequently among older folks. It’s especially dangerous since it has been connected to conditions like pneumonia, heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Nutritional deficiency – Whether a side-effect of oral pain, medication, poor health, or dentures, appetite loss is also a common part of aging. Elderly individuals often prefer foods that are soft so they don’t have to chew so much. But these foods tend to lack the vitamins they need to stay healthy.
Thrush – This fungal infection sets in when dentures aren’t kept clean. It also affects people using certain medications such as inhalers.
Increased tooth decay – After many years of use, tooth enamel gets worn. This makes the teeth more prone to cavities than before. In the presence of gum recession, decay will spread quickly among soft tooth roots.
Things to Stay Alert To
Are you or a loved one are faced with some major life changes associated with aging?
If so, then it’s time to be on the alert for signs of oral health trouble:
- Dry mouth
- Pain or irritation from a denture
- Chronic bad breath
- Gum recession
- Swollen and/or bleeding gums
- Teeth sensitive to pressure, sweets, or temperature change
- Cracked or worn teeth
- Strange bumps, wrinkles, sores, or white patches on oral tissues
How to Cope with the Oral Effects of Aging
Each year, hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits are made due to complications from easily preventable dental problems.
There are many aspects of aging we have no control over. But that’s not true of a healthy smile! Avoid needless discomfort and major dental treatment in the twilight years with diligent oral hygiene and preventative care.
Do the best you can in your situation to properly brush and floss every day. You may need the help of specialized tools to get the job done.
Excellent oral hygiene is helpful to healthy gums and teeth, but it’s not always enough in the face of other health issues complicating dental health.
You also need a support team. Family members are a good source of assistance, but even better is the help of an empathetic and experienced dental team.
To meet a Ventura dentist great with older patients, schedule an appointment with Dr. David Satnick, DMD.
Do you have questions about your oral heath? Schedule an appointment with Ventura cosmetic dentist Dr. David Satnick, DDS, or for more information call 805.639.3050 now!