Oral Health for Seniors
Now, the baby boomers generation is between the ages of 55 and 75 years of age and many are considered seniors or are over the age of 65 years. Many seniors have medical coverage to assist with any health and medical expenses that occur. Additionally, seniors also have dental care coverage as part of their health insurance coverage. This is especially important for seniors because as we age our bodies change, and our mouths are no exception. Because of the advances in dental medicine, many older people today are able to retain many of their natural teeth with proper care and regular checkups. However, there are still many seniors who suffer from gum disease, dental decay, mouth infections, and tooth loss. Let’s take a closer look at how mouths age and ways to better care for them as we age and become seniors.
How Mouths Age
As time passes, there is normal wear and tear in the mouth and on the teeth. Even though teeth are made with amazingly strong enamel, they are still destructible. After a lifetime of crunching, chewing, grinding on food, the outer layer of enamel can become wear down. Additionally, the enamel can be dissolved by exposure to acidic foods and drinks. The gums in an aging mouth can also recess and expose softer root tissues of teeth and lead to cavities and root decay. The use of certain medications and other factors that affect the salivary gland function can make the mouth dry and damage teeth. Additionally, the chances of mouth cancer can increase as people age. Teeth can also become darkened with age because of a long time of consuming foods and beverages that can stain teeth. The enamel can become thinner as age increases displaying a darker yellower dentin on the teeth. However, darker colored teeth may be a sign of a more serious issue.
How to Care for Teeth As We Age
It is important to continue brushing, flossing, and attend regular cleanings at your dentist’s office to ensure proper dental care and decrease teeth decay. However, seniors can have issues brushing and flossing by hand because of arthritis or other disabilities. Seniors should consider switching to an electric tooth brush to assist with brushing. Additionally, using fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses can help the body rebuild the teeth enamel and help inhibit bacteria in the mouth reducing tooth decay. Dentists can also help stop the progression of root decay by applying fluoride rinses or gels and varnishes to the teeth. Reach out to the professional dental staff at California Dental Group to set up an appointment with our group. Give us a call today at (800) 407-0161 today!