It's no secret that, as we age, our bodies go through a lot of unwelcome changes. Health problems creep up more frequently and, because our teeth take a lot of wear and tear, dental issues also multiply.
But there are steps you can take to protect your oral health and minimize the risk of certain general health problems as well. Being informed about conditions that affect you as you age allows you to make healthy choices about managing your oral health.
Common Oral Health Issues Seniors Face
Increased Risk for Heart Disease - It is a well-established fact that poor gum health affects other bodily systems. But now the latest research indicates that gum disease might cause heart problems. Chronic gum disease leads to inflammation that can cause plaque buildup in your arteries.
Increased Risk for Oral Cancer – The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the risk of developing oral cancer jumps significantly after the age of 60. Oral cancer is aggressive, so finding it in its earliest stages can actually save your life. All our routine exams include an oral cancer screening, so be sure to stay current with your semi-annual appointments!
Chronic Dry Mouth – Saliva plays a significant role in your oral health because it carries away bacteria and food debris. Unfortunately, as we age our salivary glands don’t work as well as they used to. Many common prescription medications can lead to dry mouth, compounding the problem. Cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy also result in dry mouth. Be sure to stay hydrated with water and use sugarless gum or candy to stimulate the production of saliva.
Difficulty Brushing – Arthritis, osteoporosis, and other muscle-related health issues can make it difficult for seniors to brush adequately. An electric toothbrush makes it much easier to get your teeth as clean as possible and get the most out of your brushing efforts.
We Are Here to Help!
If you are a senior and have age-related oral health questions, please contact your Bonita Springs, FL dentist, Dr. Michael Gostigian. He will be happy to speak with you about how you can be proactive in maintaining your healthy smile.