As we age, oral health becomes even more important than ever before. A healthy mouth allows seniors to eat a wide variety of foods, which in turn helps their overall health. If you don’t keep your mouth healthy, you may lose one or more teeth. Lost teeth can lead to poor nutrition, as it’s harder to bite down or chew on tender gums. Poor nutrition can cause a host of medical conditions.
Missing teeth can also inhibit social interaction, and a lack of relationships may lead to depression. As if that’s not enough reason to keep your mouth healthy, bacteria produced in the mouth due to poor oral health can migrate to other parts of your body and cause physical health complications.
Many older adults experience tooth sensitivity. A dental professional can determine if there is a more serious underlying problem, such as a cracked tooth. Your dentist can also recommend products that specifically address sensitive teeth.
The mouth and teeth become more vulnerable to disease as we age. Years of chewing and grinding with and a lifetime of acidic foods and drinks can cause enamel to erode. Enamel is the protective coating on teeth. Loss of enamel renders teeth more vulnerable to cavities, and if left untreated, cavities may be painful and result in the loss of teeth.
In addition, many medications that seniors take can cause “dry mouth.” Dry mouth is an actual condition, one in which the salivary glands don’t make enough saliva to keep the inside of the mouth moist. We need saliva; it protects teeth from cavities. Dry mouth also causes bad breath. A dentist can advise you as to ways you can fight dry mouth.
Maintaining good oral hygiene becomes increasingly more difficult for seniors. Many older Americans have medical conditions that negatively affect oral health. Proper dental care gets more difficult when we’re older because of common chronic conditions such as arthritis and diabetes. Arthritis can make it difficult to hold a toothbrush or to floss your teeth. Uncontrolled diabetes increases the likelihood that you’ll develop gum disease. Other medical conditions, such as heart disease and cancer, may also negatively impact your oral health.
Regular preventative visits to the dentist can help preserve not only your oral health but your overall physical health. When you see the dentist regularly, there’s less of a chance that you’ll lose teeth or that you’ll have unchecked gum disease. Regular visits allow intervention before the only option left is the extraction of a tooth or other surgery. As an added bonus, your dentist or dental hygienist will advise you about how to care for your teeth at home and can suggest devices and products that will make your at-home care easier and more effective.
Even denture wearers need to see the dentist regularly to maintain good oral health. Sure, you clean your dentures each day, but that every-six-month check-in with the dentist can help make sure there’s no oral cancer or other disease lurking.
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Schedule your next dental appointment with the dental professionals at Babylon Dental Care by calling us or by filling out the contact form here.