Dental care for aging adults is often overlooked, but it’s important to maintain good oral health as we age. As we get older, our teeth and gums change, making us more susceptible to cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems. In some cases, seniors require emergency dental care due to an accident or illness (follow this link for more info).
Reasons Why Dental Care Is More Important for Seniors
There are a few reasons why dental care is more critical for seniors, including:
- Tooth loss is common among seniors, and dentures or other dental appliances can be uncomfortable and difficult to use without proper care.
- Gum disease is more common in seniors due to the changes in our gum tissue as we age. If left untreated, this can lead to inflammation, bleeding gums, and even tooth loss.
- Seniors are more likely to suffer from dry mouth, which can lead to cavities and gum disease. This is because the salivary glands produce less saliva as we age.
- Some seniors taking medications can cause side effects that affect oral health, such as dry mouth or an increased risk of cavities.
- Aging adults are more likely to have medical conditions affecting oral health, such as diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease. People with Alzheimer’s disease may forget to brush their teeth or take care of their dentures, which can lead to serious dental problems.
What Are the Best Ways to Maintain Good Oral Health as a Senior?
The following are a few things that seniors can do to maintain good oral health, such as:
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily.
- Maintain a twice-a-year visit to your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. If you’re unsure if there is a dentist specializing in geriatric dentistry, you may ask for recommendations or look online. For instance, search for geriatric dentistry near me on the internet to narrow your search in your community.
- Eat a healthy diet and avoid sugary snacks and drinks.
- Quit smoking or using other tobacco products.
- If you wear dentures, clean them daily and see your dentist for regular checkups.
- Use a mouthwash to help reduce plaque and bacteria in your mouth.
What Are the Signs That You May Need Emergency Dental Care?
There are a few signs that you may need emergency dental care, such as:
- You have a severe toothache that lasts for more than a day or two.
- You have swelling in your face or jaw.
- You have a fever along with your toothache.
- You have lost a filling or crown.
- You have pain when you chew or bite down.
If you experience the above signs, you must see your dentist as soon as possible. You may go to an emergency room if you can’t get to your dentist immediately. However, remember that most emergency rooms are not equipped to handle dental emergencies, and you will likely be referred to a dentist anyway.
Dental care is essential for seniors because our risk for cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss increases as we age. There are a few things that the elderly can do to maintain good oral health, including brushing and flossing regularly, eating a healthy diet, and visiting the dentist regularly. If you experience any signs that may indicate you need emergency dental care, you need to see your dentist right away, such as Adina Family Dental Care—one of the best dentists in Rochester NY.