Dental Problems Faced by 55 Plus Seniors

As a senior, you may be at risk for a number of dental problems. These problems, most often, do not stem from lack of oral hygiene, but from other factors. Your dental problems are very different from the dental problems you would have experienced in the past. Therefore, it is recommended you visit a dentist at least, once every three months. Early diagnosis of the problem can ensure a quick recovery. Below are six dental problems you need to stay alert to in your senior years.

Gum Recession

This occurs when the margin of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth wears away. This problem exposes more than normal amounts of the teeth, sometimes even the tooth’s root. Gums recede for a number of reasons. These are bacterial gum infections, aggressive brushing of teeth, insufficient dental care, genes, and grinding and clenching teeth, etc. Your dentist may be able to treat mild gum recession by deeply cleaning the affected area. However, you may require surgery if deep cleaning is not an option.

Dry Mouth

Saliva is a naturally occurring substance that helps us keep our mouths moist and also enable in the digestion process. Saliva also enables us to keep our mouths free of bacteria and fungi infections. Dry mouth occurs when there is insufficient saliva in the mouth. Most often, dry mouth is a side effect of a medication. Medication for pain, anxiety, allergies, urinary incontinence, Parkinson’s diseases, etc. cause dry mouth. Chemotherapy too causes dry mouth. Dry mouth increases the risk of developing cavities and gum disease, and also causes bad breath. If you think this condition is because of your medications, speak with your doctor about your concerns. If the doctor approves a change of medication, you can also consider an oral rinse which will help add moisture to your mouth.

Denture-Induced Stomatitis

This is a fungal infection of the oral mucosa, causing inflammation, in the area covered by a denture. This usually occurs if you wear ill-fitting, unclean dentures. Denture-induced stomatitis requires medical attention. Therefore, you should consult your dentist and rinse with a medicated mouthwash as per the dentist’s instructions. Keep in mind, you need to remove the dentures every night before you go to bed and clean your dentures thoroughly to avoid fungal build-up.

Periodontitis

This is commonly known as gum disease. This is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Most often, periodontitis is caused by poor oral hygiene which causes plaque build-up on the teeth. Scaling and root-planting can be considered to treat periodontitis and restore the teeth.

Seniors suffer from oral problems because of various factors that may not be related to poor oral hygiene. A weakened immune system, due to the aging process, increases the risk of various dental problems. In addition, brushing and flossing your teeth may be a challenging task, especially if you suffer from diseases such as arthritis.

If you have trouble brushing your teeth, consider the purchase of an electric toothbrush and a floss-holder. This will help you to maintain good oral hygiene in order to avoid dental problems, such as the above. Regular visits to your dentist too can help protect your mouth from diseases.

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