Oral Healthcare for Seniors: Common Concerns
Seniors have unique oral health concerns. Advanced age and one’s health history contribute to the development of many common conditions including tooth loss, cavities, and oral cancer. Fortunately, modern dentistry can treat a number of potential conditions including tooth loss and bone atrophy.
While aging itself does not cause tooth loss, advanced age does increase the risk of losing teeth. As we age, our teeth become worn down. Tooth wear can leave teeth weak and prone to decay and cracking. Severe decay might require tooth extraction. The primary contributor to tooth loss is gum disease, which commonly affects the aging population.
Today’s treatments for tooth loss are more comfortable and durable than those in the past. A popular option for replacing lost teeth is implant dentistry. Dental implants can hold various types of restorations and prosthetics for single- and multi-tooth replacement.
Many seniors experience dry mouth. This is often a side of effect of health conditions and common medications. Conditions like diabetes produce symptoms of dry mouth. Antihistamines and sedatives, for example, contribute to dry mouth by affecting saliva production.
Seniors who experience dry mouth should practice proper oral hygiene, eat a balanced diet, and drink plenty of water to stave off the effects of dry mouth.
Bone health, including the health of the jawbones, is a concern for many mature patients – especially women. The jawbones can deteriorate and atrophy from oral conditions like gum disease. Patients with osteoporosis can also experience bone loss in their jaws.
Frequent checkups are necessary to monitor the health of the jaws. If bone is deteriorating, treatments such as bone grafting procedures can help.
Oral cancers can develop at any age but do affect mature patients more than younger ones. Since oral cancer can form anywhere in the oral cavity, dentists screen for potential cancers during every checkup. Diagnosing oral cancer as early as possible can help save lives.
Seniors should practice vigilant oral hygiene and visit their dentist for routine checkups and cleanings. Our oral surgeon provides treatments for tooth loss, bone loss, and oral cancer. Call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to schedule a consultation.