People often assume that as you get older, tooth loss is inevitable. However, that perception is largely inaccurate. With advances in dental care, an increasing number of patients are able to keep their natural smiles well into their senior years.
However, older patients do face certain oral health risks, so it’s important to do everything possible to prevent oral diseases and monitor your teeth and gums for them so that you can seek treatment promptly.
A partnership with a knowledgeable dentist and adequate home oral hygiene habits will go a long way in helping you to protect your smile as you age.
Oral Health Risks Associated With Aging
As patients get older, they face an increased risk of gum disease. Furthermore, older adults are more likely to have certain general health conditions that appear to have some correlation with oral health, such as diabetes.
Some health issues, such as arthritis or dementia, may also interfere with an older adult’s ability to perform important oral hygiene tasks, like brushing teeth or flossing. This can increase the risk of oral diseases, as well.
Older adults also tend to take more medications, which can have side effects like dry mouth. Maintaining adequate saliva levels is essential to the oral cavity’s ability to limit the proliferation of disease-causing oral bacteria.
How To Protect Your Teeth And Gums As You Age
To reduce your risk of oral diseases as you get older, it’s essential to see a dentist at least twice a year for exams and cleanings and to practice good oral hygiene habits at home.
A dentist with expertise in treating geriatric patients will complete a comprehensive evaluation that assesses for the multiple factors that can affect an older adult’s oral health. A plan can then be developed for the patient to get adequate professional and home care.
At a minimum, make sure that you are brushing twice each day, for two minutes at a time, and flossing daily. Keep an eye out for signs of early stage gum disease, like redness, bleeding or swelling of the gums, and reach out to us if you notice any concerning symptoms.If you are an older adult who is due for an exam or cleaning, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We want to help you do everything possible to preserve your smile!