Dental Care for Seniors
by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 3/31/2023
As one ages, maintaining your physical and mental health is important in helping you enjoy an optimal lifestyle. But what about dental health? It may be surprising to learn poor dental health is a major issue for adults 55 years and older. Seniors often make up the largest demographic suffering from a dental problem.
Periodontal disease is one example where the CDC reports “47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older” have some form of the disease, but this statistic increases to 70.1% for adults 65 years and older.
This doesn’t mean you need to be resigned to dealing with dental issues as an older adult. In this article, we will help you gain the knowledge you need to maintain good oral health and limit the dental problems you may experience in the future.
Common Dental Issues Seniors Can Experience
For older adults, the frequent cause of dental issues is usually related to aging. For example, as one gets older, your teeth can change color or become weak. This can result in yellow teeth or cracked teeth. The following highlights common dental issues seniors can experience.
- Cavities. Seniors it seems are more susceptible to cavities because of age-related conditions such as decreased saliva production, weaker teeth, and receding gums. According to the CDC “96% [of adults] aged 65 years or older have had a cavity.”
- Dry Mouth. Reduced saliva production can cause your mouth to feel more dry. In addition, if you take medications for chronic illnesses, dry mouth is a common side effect.
- Oral Cancer. Anyone of any age can experience oral cancer, but the CDC reports “the median age for oral cancer diagnosis is 62 years old.” As a result, older adults should screen for this cancer and take preventative action as advised by their dentist.
- Gum disease. When your gums become inflamed this is known as gum disease or periodontal disease. For seniors, receding gums is one of the main causes of gum disease as the receding allows bacteria to build up in the newly exposed areas near the gum line or tooth.
- Denture-related issues. If a senior’s dentures are ill-fitted it can cause a lot of issues including discomfort, bleeding, and stomatitis.
How Seniors Can Improve Their Oral Health
Luckily there are proactive steps seniors can take to keep their teeth, gums, and mouth healthy. Try the following tips.
- Brush twice a day, floss, and use mouthwash. These simple practices will always be the first line of defense in improving your oral health. Your dentist can advise on how to properly brush your teeth, effectively floss, and which mouthwash will be good for you.
- Visit the dentist every six months. It’s important to visit your dentist regularly so they can clean your teeth, track your overall dental health, and screen for any potential issues.
- Check your medications. Review your medications’ side effects and discuss with your doctor and dentist if they need to prescribe anything else to alleviate dry mouth or other dental side effects.
Dental Treatment Options for Seniors
Depending on the condition you may be experiencing, your dentist can advise the appropriate treatment or solution. When looking for a new dentist in your area be sure they cater to senior dental needs and can provide cost-friendly solutions like the Kimball & Beecher dental offices in Iowa. The following are popular treatment options for our senior patients.
Schedule a Dental Appointment With Kimball & Beecher
The right dentist can be your partner in ensuring your dental condition stays healthy for years to come. Whether you already practice good oral hygiene or you want to address concerns about changes in your teeth, mouth, or gums, a friendly Kimball & Beecher dentist is here to help. Schedule a senior-friendly appointment with a Kimball & Beecher dentist today.