Dental News

Aging and oral healthcare

December 20, 2019

Aging and oral healthcare

From the moment our first baby tooth erupts and falls out, our mouth is exposed to various external environmental factors. The environmental and genetics affect our oral health as we age. Damage to the oral cavity such as teeth, and the structure that supports the teeth can have a detrimental effect on our quality of life. Tooth infections can lead to infection of the surrounding tissues and in the most severe case cause systemic wide infection. For this reason, chronic oral infection is well recognized health issue, particularly among older adults. The quality of life for ageing adults can severely be impact by tooth loss. Losing a tooth might not sound so bad especially if its infected, but the implications of tooth loss can be profound. Tooth loss can lead to facial structural changes, verbalization problems, and reduced ability to chew foods leading to malnourishment. It is well understood that tooth loss is an inherent part of aging. Because of the nature of adult teeth, the permanent teeth are at a much higher risk for dental caries, periodontitis, infections, and tooth loss. Once these adult teeth are loss, they will not be replaced with new teeth. However, tooth loss does not have to happen prematurely when proper oral hygiene is practice follow by preventive dental visits.

Preventing dental caries

Dental caries or tooth decay is a chronic disease that affects all age groups from infants to adults. Dental caries is mainly cause by bacteria and be infectious if not properly treated. When dental caries is left untreated, the infection can spread into the dental pulp causing early tooth decay. This may require dental fillings or tooth extraction to remove the infected tooth. Your dentist can spot early signs of dental caries is you visit a dentist regularly. Your dentist may recommend fluoride treatments or fluoride varnishes to help prevent tooth decay.

Preventing periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is another common chronic inflammatory disease found in aging adults. The disease does not always cause pain or discomfort which gets overlooked when it comes to getting dental care. If periodontitis is left untreated, the healthy gum tissue that support the teeth starts to recede and pull away from the tooth. These changes eventually result in tooth loss. Gum recession is a part of aging but if gum recession is cause by disease, it should be treated to prevent premature tooth loss. To treat periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend dental scaling and root planning.

Diabetes and oral health

Aging patients who have diabetes are at greater risk of developing oral infections that can lead to premature tooth loss. According to the American Dental Association and research studies, aging adults with diabetes are more at risk to develop periodontal disease. Preventing tooth loss in aging adults with diabetes can have significant health benefits. Not having difficulties chewing and eating nutritious foods can play a significant role in managing diabetes.

Dental professionals recommend that all older adults should have biannual dental cleaning and oral health assessment to prevent premature tooth loss. If you are concern about the health of your teeth and gums, please give California Dental Group a call at (800) 407-0161 to schedule your appointment.

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