Getting older presents a range of challenges, not least of which is maintaining a healthy mouth, teeth, and gums. In fact, the aging process will often impair your sense of taste, while diseases, medications, and dentures can also contribute to this sensory loss. Then of course, as you age, so do your teeth and gums, becoming less resilient and less healthy over time.
However, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), declining oral health is not inevitable as you grow older, provided you practice good oral hygiene.
Still, the oral health challenges you face as you age are real and can be serious, requiring that you pay attention to the condition of your mouth, teeth, and gums, brush and floss regularly (which can be particularly difficult if mental focus begins to lag), and visit your dentist twice a year, to check for problems and take preventive measures on your behalf.
Dental care for aging patients
Here is a list of things that ongoing research has told us will your affect oral health as you grow older:
- The demographic of older adults (those 65 years of age and older) is growing and likely will be an increasingly large part of dental practice in the coming years.
- Although better than in years past, the typical aging patient’s baseline health state can be complicated by comorbid conditions (e.g., hypertension, diabetes mellitus) and physiologic changes (naturally occurring changes to the body) associated with aging.
- Older adults may regularly use several prescription and/or over-the-counter medications, making them vulnerable to medication errors, drug interactions or adverse drug reactions.
- Potential physical, sensory, and cognitive impairments associated with aging may make oral health self-care and patient education/communications challenging.
- Dental conditions associated with aging include dry mouth (xerostomia), root and coronal caries, and periodontitis; patients may show increased sensitivity to drugs used in dentistry, including local anesthetics and analgesics.
- Additional research indicates linkage between oral health and other medical problems, such as: heart disease, diabetes – and even rheumatoid arthritis!
Tooth Loss and Aging
If you’re 65 or older, or if someone you love is, you need to pay attention to what’s going on inside your mouth. Increased redness of your gums, tenderness to oral tissues, sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks, are all indications that something bad is going on in your mouth. If you want to avoid tooth loss as you get older, you should definitely make a visit to your dental professional for a checkup and advice, and you should increase your focus on dental hygiene.
The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all of your dental problems, including total tooth replacement. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.