Seniors often ignore oral health because many do not visit the dentist regularly. However, oral health is essential and can affect a senior’s health.
According to US Census, the number of US adults aged 65 years or older is expected to reach 98 million by 2060. This is 24% of the overall population. It only indicates that the number of senior citizens suffering from oral health problems will grow as time goes on. We need to take action now and educate seniors on the importance of oral health and how to maintain good oral hygiene.
Most common oral health issues faced by seniors and how they can be avoided:
Tooth decay is one of the seniors’ most common oral health issues, which can lead to cavities. A few procedures can be done to treat tooth decay; one is a dental filling, which is used to fill in the tooth’s hole caused by decay. Another is a dental crown, which covers the entire tooth and protects it from further damage.
Gum disease is another common oral health issue faced by seniors. It is caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth, which can lead to inflammation of the gums. A few procedures can be done to treat gum disease; one is a dental cleaning. This procedure will remove the plaque from the teeth. Another is scaling and root planing, used to remove the tartar from the teeth and smooth out the root surfaces.
Some people have a problem where they don’t make enough saliva. When this happens, they can go to the dentist and get a “saliva replacement.” This puts more saliva in their mouth, so they don’t have as much of a problem with plaque building up on their teeth. Prevention for dry mouth can be as simple as drinking more water or chewing sugar-free gum.
Bad breath is another common oral health issue faced by seniors, which can lead to a build-up of bacteria in the mouth. There are a few procedures that can be done to treat bad breath: one is a tongue scraper. This is used to scrape the plaque from the tongue. Another is a mouthwash, used to rinse the mouth and remove the bacteria.
Tooth loss is another common oral health issue faced by seniors. It is caused by several factors, including decay, gum disease, and dry mouth. There are a few things that can be done to treat tooth loss.
One procedure that many take to combat tooth loss is dental implants. A dental implant procedure utilizes dental implants to replace a lost tooth permanently. This happens if the patient refuses or cannot wear dentures or other dental equipment. This will increase the self-esteem of older people and make them feel more natural because they appear like real teeth. It also aids in their chewing and talking abilities.
Oral cancer is another common oral health issue faced by seniors. This can lead to a build-up of cancerous cells in the mouth. There are a few procedures that can be done to treat oral cancer. Surgical removal is used to remove the cancerous cells from the mouth. Another is radiation therapy, which is used to kill cancerous cells.
Darkened teeth are another common oral health issue faced by seniors. It is again caused by plaque on the teeth, which can build up bacteria in the mouth. We can do dental bleaching to remove the stains from the teeth. Another is dental bonding, which is used to cover the stains with a tooth-colored resin.
Mouth sores are another common oral health issue faced by seniors. They are caused by many things, including dental device, braces, and dentures. Dental surgery is one of those procedures we can do: remove the dental device or braces causing the sore. Another is a dental cleaning, which removes the plaque and tartar from the teeth.
Help Your Seniors
It’s important to help your seniors maintain good oral health. They may not be able to do it independently, and they may need your help. There are a few things you can do to help them:
- Make sure they see the dentist regularly: Older people often don’t see the dentist as often as they should.
- Help them brush and floss their teeth: Older people may not be able to brush and floss their teeth properly on their own. They may need your help to do it correctly.
- Make sure they eat healthy: Older people often don’t eat as healthy as they should. Eating healthy foods will help them maintain good oral health.
- Make sure they avoid sugary and acidic drinks: Sugary and acidic beverages can damage the teeth.
- Make sure they use fluoride: Fluoride can help prevent dental decay. Older people should use fluoride to help maintain good oral health.
As you can see, a number of common oral health issues are faced by seniors. However, lots of things can be done to treat them. If you are a senior citizen or know someone who is, be sure to visit the dentist for checkups, cleanings, and immediate dental treatment.