For a while, people may have felt that getting older was naturally correlated with losing their teeth, but as the aging population grows, we are realizing that this is no longer the case. In fact, there’s a greater likelihood than ever for people to keep their natural teeth for the rest of their lives. However, what this doesn’t mean is that this happens automatically. Not only do people want to keep up good oral habits for their lives, but they may also need to adjust them as they age.
Why is this the case? There are several different reasons, but here’s a brief list of some of the biggest issues seniors deal with that may impact their oral health:
- Certain prescription medications or over the counter medications. In some cases, these medications may have side effects or interactions that can impact your teeth and oral health. Make sure that you speak to your doctor about this.
- Comorbid conditions. These include diabetes, hypertension, and other diseases that may impact older people. In fact, oral health changes may be a precursor of these conditions.
- Physical impairments. This may sound odd at first, but in some cases, seniors may have limitations to their range of motion that make brushing difficult, or have trouble shopping themselves for tooth-friendly foods.
- Grinding or clenching. Habits like these can lead to tooth structure being worn away over time. It may be a good idea to use some sort of night guard.
In addition, there are specific conditions like dry mouth, but gum disease is probably the biggest source of tooth loss in older adults. This is because not only are older adults likely to have receding gums, which open up a new surface for decay, but things like old fillings that need to be replaced or dentures that don’t fit will actually aggravate these conditions. Any sort of dental restoration like a filling or crown should be looked at least every eight years to check for a replacement. The longer you wait, the bigger the risk of decay spreading.
Understand that it’s important to keep your oral health in proper order, but your needs may evolve as you get older. The good news is your best tactic to keep healthy doesn’t really change—getting regular dental checkups. Make sure that you reach out to the dentists at Acadia Dental to get the care you need.