As we age, our bodies aren’t as resilient and healthy as they once were. We know we start feeling aches in our bones, our muscles aren’t as strong, and it’s harder to stay in shape.
What you might not realize is that our teeth change as we age as well. There are oral health concerns that become important that we used to overlook. Here are eight oral health issues that are common among seniors.
Avoiding major oral health issues will go a long way toward keeping seniors healthy and helping them live long, active, and happy lives.
Usually, your mouth produces quite a bit of saliva every day. Saliva is important because it helps keep your mouth clean, prevent tooth decay, and keeps your breath fresh. However, as we get older we take more medications, and some of those pills slow down saliva production.
As a result, older Canadians can face problems including discomfort, increased cavities, and more. It can be helpful to chew gum and drink more water to help your mouth stay hydrated.
Seniors often wonder what’s happening when they notice their breath is worse than it was when they were younger. Many times they become embarrassed and less likely to go out, which can lead to social isolation and even depression.
The good news is that bad breath usually has an underlying cause that can be handled. Whether it’s hygiene, an infection, or dry mouth, bad breath can be treated.
As people get older, they are more likely to lose their teeth. Many seniors have no remaining teeth and have dentures instead. Seeing an Oshawa dentist on a regular basis can decrease the chance of tooth loss, so be sure to help your senior relatives get to their appointments.
If an older person does lose a tooth, there are many ways to replace it, so see a dentist as soon as possible.
Like other issues, gum disease is more common as we age. Some of this has to do with having a lower saliva production, as was discussed earlier. It can also be related to poor dental hygiene. Sometimes common personal chores like brushing and flossing are more difficult for older Canadians, but they can be embarrassed about asking for help.
Encourage older folks you know to ask for help with brushing and flossing if they need it. An electric or battery-powered toothbrush might help as well. And don’t skip those regular dentist appointments at a dental clinic in Ottawa.
Poor Denture Care
Unfortunately, many Canadians feel that dentures don’t need as much care as regular teeth do. As a result, dentures build up bacteria that can lead to gum disease, bad breath, and other problems. They can also build up plaque, which can cause damage or discolouration to the dentures.
Dentures should be removed after each meal and rinsed to get rid of food particles. You also need to brush and soak them each night. Proper denture care can go a long way toward keeping your mouth healthy.
Poor Dental Health Leads to Other Health Problems
Some seniors feel that since they are losing teeth anyway, dental health isn’t as important. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Poor oral health can lead to a host of other more serious diseases. For instance, gum disease is linked to heart disease.
Avoiding the five major oral health issues mentioned in the article will go a long way toward keeping seniors healthy and helping them live long, active, and happy lives.
Have you — or your loved ones — experienced major oral health issues?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.