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Time to Talk About - Ageing and Dental Health

As all of us are becoming increasingly aware, getting older can have profound effects on our bodies, many of them to our detriment. Of course, like every other area of your body, your mouth, teeth, and gums are also affected by the ageing process. But, again similar to other areas of your body, preventive care and a healthy lifestyle can prevent or postpone the negative effects of aging in your mouth.

Because of our ageing population, including the vast numbers of Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, we are seeing profound increases in the numbers of older patients forced to deal with dental problems they may not have expected to experience.

From the American Dental Association (ADA) website:

"According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, the population of Americans older than 65 years is expected to double to about 71 million by 2040. What’s more, the population of Americans older than 85 years is expected to increase to 9.6 million by 2030. A growing percentage of these adults are semi-dependent.

As people live longer and retain more natural teeth, the complexity of their treatment increases. Geriatric dentistry includes, but is not limited to, the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of caries and periodontal disease, as well as oral mucosal diseases, head and neck pain, salivary dysfunction and impaired chewing, tasting and swallowing."

Not only do older patients continue to experience cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss; many are also forced to deal with the oral effects of commonly prescribed medications that are specific to an ageing population. Beyond these concerns, older patients tend to experience higher instances of dry mouth, periodontal disease, oral cancer, and the shrinking of oral tissues, making dentures and partial dentures insecure and problematic to wear comfortably.

In response to this trend, the ADA has begun a push to educate older patients about the importance of continued healthy oral practices, as well as regular dental check-ups. They have created a variety of informational pieces at their website, including:

A Consumer Resources Page

A Frequently Asked Questions Page

The Oral Longevity Initiative

Needless to say, continued care of all areas of the body must be taken as we age, including your mouth, gums, and teeth. Beginning with regular visits to your dental health provider, if you are diligent, you should have no serious dental problems to overcome as you grow older, leading to a happy life in retirement.

If you are concerned about your dental health because of your age, Dr. Kaushal Dhawan at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry is available to help you determine effective solutions to all of your dental problems. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.

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