As we age, our bodies change, and this includes our teeth and oral health. Unfortunately, many elderly people neglect their dental health, which can lead to a range of future health issues that could have been prevented by proper care. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common dental problems faced by the elderly in addition to why dental care is so important in later life.
Common Dental Issues for the Elderly
There are several dental issues that are more prevalent in older adults. These include:
- Tooth Decay – Tooth decay is a common problem for everyone, not just the elderly. However, tooth decay can be a particularly problematic for the elderly. As we age, our gums may recede. This can expose the roots of our teeth, which may make our teeth more susceptible to decay.
- Gum Disease – Gum diseases is another issue that is more common with the elderly. As we age, our immune system weakens. This make it harder to fight off infections.
- Dry Mouth – Many elderly take medications that can cause dry mouth as a side effect, which can lead to tooth decay as well as other oral problems.
- Tooth Loss – Tooth loss is more common with elderly often as a result from one of the aforementioned dental issues.
The Importance of Dental Care for the Elderly
Everyone should have a good dental hygiene regimen in place. However, it is especially important for the elderly. Here are some reasons why:
- Preventing Tooth Decay and Gum Disease – Regular brushing and flossing in addition to routine cleanings and checkups, can help avoid tooth decay and and gum disease, both of which can lead tooth loss in the future.
- Maintaining Overall Health – Poor dental health has been linked to a range of health problems including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. By taking care of your teeth and gums, you can help protect your overall wellbeing.
- Improved Quality of Life – Dental problems can be painful and extremely uncomfortable, which can make it difficult to enjoy food. By taking care of their teeth, the elderly can improve their quality of life and maintain independence.
- Early Detection of Oral Cancer – Routine checkups can help detect oral cancer in its early stages when it is easier to treat.
Tips for Maintain Good Dental Health in Later Life
If you are an older adult or are a caregiver, there are several things you can do to help the elderly maintain good dental hygiene. Your routine should include:
- Brush and floss regularly – Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
- Visit your dentist regularly – Regular dental cleanings and checkups can help catch potential dental problems early and prevent them from progressing.
- Drink plenty of water – Drinking water can help prevent dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay.
- Eat a healthy diet – Eating a healthy diet can help maintain your overall health and protect your teeth and gums from harmful sugars.
Dental care is a crucial part of our everyday care, and it is even more important to the elderly. By taking care of their teeth and gums, the elderly can help prevent major procedures in the future that are often painful and expensive. In turn, this can help maintain their overall health and their quality of life as they age.