As people reach their senior years, they become more neglectful of their own dental and oral health. Why would they need to see a dentist if they no longer have any of their natural teeth, right? Well that is the wrong notion. Seniors are more prone to certain oral diseases. That is why regular trips to the dentist are needed for everyone, including seniors.
What are the oral health problems faced by seniors?
The darkening of one’s teeth can be one of the usual problems faced by old age. This is partially caused by the thinning of the outermost layer of the tooth enamel. Another cause would be the consumption of stain-causing foods and beverages throughout the years.
Some seniors might also experience constant dryness in their mouth. Dry mouth is due to the reduction of saliva flow which can be a side effect of certain medications. Another oral problem that seniors are prone to is root decay. As one reaches old age, the gum tissue recedes from the tooth, thus exposing the tooth’s root to acids that cause decay.
Older adults can also suffer from gum disease. It is usually caused by plaque, constant use of tobacco products, poorly fitted dentures, and poor diet. This oral problem is the leading cause of tooth loss.
Poor-fitting dentures can cause stomatitis. Along with poor dental hygiene, these two can cause the tissue under the denture to become inflamed.
How can seniors maintain good oral hygiene?
For those who still have all or some of their natural teeth, it is highly recommended to brush at least twice a day with toothpaste containing fluoride, and floss at least once a day. Using an antiseptic mouthwash is also good in maintaining good oral hygiene. Of course, a regular visit to the dentist is must for cleaning teeth, and getting an oral exam.
Some seniors might have already traded in their natural teeth for implants or dentures. Regular visits to the dentist can help one maintain good oral health despite no longer having any natural teeth. These checkups will give the dentist time to check the jaw, lymph nodes, salivary glands, and other oral-related parts to be sure that no problems are gone unnoticed. Dentists will also check the areas touched by dentures for any form of irritation, and also examine the dentures for any worn or broken areas that need to be fixed or replaced.
How much would a regular dental checkup cost?
The cost for regular dental checkups vary. For seniors relying on a fixed income or pension, spending a lot of money for dental visits might seem a waste, but many dentists offer their services at reduced fees for seniors.
One’s oral health is as important as any other part of the body, regardless of age. And spending some time and money for a better and healthier body is never a waste.