Many things change as one ages, but one thing that remains constant is the importance of good oral care. Taking good care of your teeth is essential throughout life. In fact, dental heath might become even more essential as you age. This article offers some education on elderly dental care to help you or a loved one maintain good oral health through the golden years.
Why Dental Care Matters as You Get Older
It is important to see your dentist twice a year. As you age, your body experiences many changes, some of which might affect your dental health. The aging process makes people more prone to gum disease and dry mouth. In addition, chronic diseases, such as diabetes, that affect many seniors increase the risk of dental problems. Research shows that most people who are 65 years and above suffer from at least one chronic health condition, with most having multiple conditions. Some of these conditions include diabetes, cancer, arthritis, hypertension and heart disease, as well as eyesight problems, neck and back pain, hearing loss, dementia and depression. Managing these chronic conditions normally involves taking medications, many of which cause dry mouth, which leaves the people who take those medications at a higher threat for gum disease and cavities.
Periodontal disease and dental decay have direct correlations to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, so elderly dental care is important to avoid making these conditions worse. It is important to note that even seniors without chronic health conditions are at risk for dental issues. Healthy older people are also at a great risk for dental cavities and gum disease simply because they have used their teeth for longer.
Unfortunately, as many people reach the retirement age, they lose employer-provided dental and health benefits. Even for those that are Medicare eligible, in many cases only medically needed procedures are allowed, needing another option to be provided to cover elderly dental care. Lack of easy access to dental insurance makes many elderly people choose to skip their dental visits. This puts them at a greater risk for dental problems.
The Basics of Elderly Dental Care
- As you age, you are likely to experience dry mouth and see gum recession. Both of these put you at a higher risk for gum disease and cavities because there is less saliva in the mouth for washing away bacteria. However, there are a few things that you can do to maintain good oral care and save your teeth. These include:
- Continue seeing your dentist at least twice a year. Even if you have had good dental health throughout your life, you should still see your dentist for routine dental examinations. Regular dental visits ensure that your dentist is able to detect dental problems early and treat them before they become worse.
- If you are not able to brush, you can chew sugar-free gum after every meal. However, you should first get the approval of your dentist. Your dentist will recommend the right chewing gums that will help clean your teeth without compromising your dental and general health.
- Ensure that any implants, dentures, bridges or crowns are in good condition at all times. If you have any concerns about your dentures or implants, speak to your dentist. Dentists offer denture repair and other services to ensure that your teeth, whether natural or artificial, are good looking and comfortable at all times.
- Look at dental plans that you can afford. Dental insurance can be expensive, so choose a plan that you can afford. Compare different plans and choose one that suits your budget and dental needs. It is important to know what procedures a dental plan you are considering covers before making your final decision.
Dental care is important to keep your teeth or the teeth of your loved ones healthy through the golden years. A reliable dental office can educate you more on elderly dental care and give you information on affordable dental insurance options. You should remember that living a great life includes maintaining good oral care besides overall health. To maintain good oral health, however, you should have a reliable dentist that you are comfortable with. If you do not have a dentist to offer quality dental care, conduct some research to find a reliable one. Choose a dentist that offers affordable and comfortable elderly dental care that meets your needs.