Seniors and Oral HealthFriday, February 14, 2014 by: Dr. Biasucci
Many seniors are now keeping their natural teeth for a lifetime, decades ago this may have been unusual. Today people are living longer and enjoying increased overall health thanks to prevention and preventative care. Current research indicates less tooth loss in people between the ages of 60 and 70.
Oral health and general health is directly interrelated in many ways. Research shows disease within the oral cavity can increase risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections and the list goes on. It is possible to maintain a healthy oral cavity and lower the risk of systemic diseases as we age.
Side Effect of Common Medications a Possible Threat to Oral Health!
The side effect of many common medications can cause dry mouth and increase your risk of oral diseases such as gingivitis, periodontitis and dental decay. Dry mouth otherwise known as xerostomia can cause bacteria in the mouth to collect and proliferate causing infections. When the mouth is dry due to decreased salivary flow the oral cavity is not rinsed of food debris and bacteria thus allowing it to collect and possibly cause the disease process to begin. Recommendations to help with dry mouth include drinking water regularly throughout the day and chewing/sucking on sugar-free candies a few times a day to stimulate the salivary glands to produce more saliva. Your dentist may also recommend regular fluoride treatments to help prevent decay and special mouthrinses that are made for people who have xerostomia. Drugs which may lead to xerostomia include; antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, antihypertensives, diuretics, sedatives, diet pills and anti-parkinson's disease agents.
Preventative Dental Care Can lead to a Healthy Mouth and Body!
Early detection and prevention can help prevent tooth loss and maintain a health oral cavity. Regular dental examinations can catch cavities and gum disease early so it can be treated. An oral exam may also detect other diseases within the body which may impact overall health. Seniors should focus on the health of their mouth to prevent infections both within the oral cavity and systemically. Some may notice the gums have receded over time exposing the roots of the teeth which are soft and very susceptible to decay. Recession also indicates that periodontal disease is present within the oral cavity. It is recommended for those seniors with periodontal disease or frequent occurences of dental cavities to attend their dental office every three months for preventative dental care.
Maintenance of Existing Restorations, Crowns, Bridges, Implants and Dentures
Maintenance of exisitng dental fillings, crowns, bridges, dental implants and dentures is important. Over time these may need to be repaired or changed completely if dental decay or gum recession occurs. Cavities can start underneath fillings, crowns and bridges, with dental implants bone loss may occur which threatens the support system around the implant. Frequent regular dental appointments may help prevent problems before they begin. Even those who wear dentures need a regular dental examination to check for soft and hard tissue changes within the mouth that may be benign, precancerous or cancerous. Also dentures may need to be adjusted at times due to shrinkage of the gums and bones beneath supporting it.
Oral health is for a lifetime! In 2013 with regular oral care it is possible to keep your teeth for life. Preventative oral care is the key to good oral and overall health! So brush, floss, rinse and see your dentist on the recommended schedule.
or call (705)575-7572 to book your preventative dental appointment today!