We focus on good dental hygiene and oral care habits for our children, but you should know that as you age your dental routine might need a few changes, and the changes you have undergone in life might mean some changes in your mouth as well.
Dental care for older patients is more important now than ever, as better dental habits and dentistry practices mean that more and more people are keeping some, or all, of their original teeth into their golden years.
And whether you have a mouth full of original teeth, a complete set of dentures, or not teeth at all, your dental health is just as important now, maybe more important, than it was when you were a child.
At Thornton Dental, we welcome patients of all ages, and we treat them with the knowledge that the decades can make a difference to approaching dental health.
Dental health is key at ALL ages!
Oral Health Conditions Associated with Ageing
Just as the rest of your body continues to change as you age, your mouth changes, too. Certain conditions become more likely to develop as you reach older adulthood, including:
- Dry mouth. Although your salivary glands produce saliva as you get older, medications and chronic health problems can cause dry mouth.
- Tissue inflammation. Are your gums tender, bleeding, or inflamed? Tissue inflammation may indicate gum disease or may be a consequence of wearing dentures that don’t fit well.
- Root decay. Improper nutrition or cleaning may lead to decay at the roots of your teeth. Gum disease can make this decay worse as it leads to gum recession, which exposes the less tough roots of the tooth to bacteria, plaque, tartar, and decay.
- Diminished sense of taste. Your eyesight and hearing aren’t the only senses affected by aging. The ability to taste naturally diminishes over the course of older adulthood.
- Oral cancer. Risk for most cancers increases with age, and oral cancer is no exception. Older adults are at increased risk for oral cancer compared to younger individuals, with adults over 65 years old having oral cancer rates seven times above average.
The Fundamentals of Good Dental Care & Ageing
For mature adults, the fundamentals of good dental care remain important but can become more difficult to achieve, and may require a few additional steps. Nonetheless, the following should be key parts of dental care for the elderly.
- Careful brushing and flossing with a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Appropriate choice and use of toothpaste
- Drinking lots of tap water to avoid a dry mouth, and to supply a source of fluoride
- Maintaining a good diet, particularly avoiding sweets and sugars
- Staying away from hard or sticky foods that might harm teeth or dentures
- Avoiding tobacco
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Making regular dental visits
Benefits of Senior Dental Care
- Comfort: Relieve oral health issues like dry mouth, thrush, or ill-fitting dentures to look and feel your best. Among other benefits, a comfortable mouth makes it far easier to chew and swallow, which leads to overall better health.
- Appearance: Dental care can restore or upgrade the look of your teeth and the shape of your face. Badly discolored teeth can be whitened to reveal a brighter smile.
- Easy speaking and eating: Dental restoration or properly fitted dentures make eating, drinking, and talking easy and natural again.
- Health: Protect the health of your heart, immune system, digestion, and more through good oral hygiene practices.
- Live Longer: Yes, a 2015 study looking into tooth loss and mortality (in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology) has revealed the number of teeth we have is significantly correlated to our life expectancy.
Dental Health and Overall Health
The link between dental health and overall health is clear – Poor dental health is associated with the increased occurrence of a variety of diseases:
- Several studies have linked periodontal disease to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
- A 2012 study suggested oral bacteria may contribute to some cases of knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Bacteria in the mouth may also find their way to the lungs if a person breathes in tooth plaque. This may cause pneumonia or other severe respiratory disease
- Tooth loss due to poor dental health is also a risk factor for memory loss and early stage Alzheimer’s disease.
- Men with periodontal disease are 7 times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than men with good dental hygiene.
- Researchers have found that men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers.
Our Special Offers for New Seniors Patients
- Pay No Gap: No Gap for dental checkup, clean, fluoride & 2 x-rays (with any health insurance)
Learn more about our latest offers by visiting our special offers page.