With proper care, your teeth can last a lifetime. However, as we age the treatment our teeth needs often changes. For instance, older adults are more prone to cavities, teeth sensitivity, and may have other health conditions that affect teeth and gums. Seniors who have or need dentures also have special care needs.
Good dental hygiene is important to overall health, and chronic illnesses and medications can worsen oral health. On the flip-side, your mouth can be a “window” to the state of your general health – sometimes visiting the dentist is your first line of defence for your general health!
As we get older, it becomes even more important that we take good care of our dental hygiene. Alex Bratic Dental Care is your partner in that effort!
Dental Issues and Ageing
Some of the many dental issues related to aging include:
Gums. Our gums normally recede with age, leaving the surfaces of the roots of the teeth more exposed, less protected, and more susceptible to decay. With aging, careful brushing and flossing are required to ensure cleanliness.
Repair. Mature adults often require repair of previously repaired teeth. Decay in mature adult often can reach the roots of the teeth as well as the crowns. The material of roots is softer than the enamel of crowns, and thus more prone to cavities.
Missing Teeth. In 2013, Australian survey data showed the proportion of people aged 45–64 without any natural teeth was 3.2%, which rose to 19.1% for those 65 and over. This is a threat to overall health as missing or infected teeth can prevent eating a balanced diet, which is key to disease prevention. Gum disease is a frequent cause of tooth loss.
Periodontal disease increases with age, and men have a higher chance of severe gum disease than women.
Dry Mouth. Many older adults take medications that result in dry mouth. Some people breathe through their mouths when they sleep, resulting in a dry mouth. Unfortunately, dry mouth leads to a reduction in lubricating saliva, which contains minerals and antimicrobial chemicals that coat and protect the teeth.
People with dry mouth may have difficulty speaking, chewing, or swallowing.
Connections Between Overall and Dental Health
Maintaining good oral health has many rewards: A brilliant smile, great breath, and healthy gums. But scientific evidence suggests that good oral health may have an even greater benefit to your overall health – it might actually reduce your risk for a number of systemic diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research 17.20% of Australian seniors aged 65 and over have periodontal disease and this is a major cause of adult tooth loss. This is unfortunate, as a number of studies have shown that patients with severe periodontal disease are at higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Periodontitis may also increase the chance that diabetes will develop or progress.
So, it is clear that protecting your dental health protects you general health as well!
What Can You Do?
Seeing a dentist regularly helps to keep your dental health optimised and gives your dentist a chance to watch for symptoms that may point to other health issues. A dental exam can also detect poor nutrition and hygiene, improper jaw alignment, and signs of developing oral and overall health problems.
When you visit your dentist, be certain to provide a complete medical history and inform him or her of any recent health developments, even if they seem unrelated to your oral health. Because your overall health and your dental health are related, conditions in one definitely affect the other.
In addition, you can play a major role in improving your oral and overall health by following these practices:
- Brushing your teeth for two to three minutes, twice a day, with fluoridated toothpaste and a brush that is not too hard for your teeth. Be sure to brush along the gumline.
- Flossing daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Eating a healthy diet to provide essential nutrients (vitamins A and C, in particular).
- Avoiding cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
- Limiting your alcohol intake.
- Carefully following your physician’s and dentist’s instructions about health care, including using prescription medications, such as antibiotics, as directed.
- Seeing your dentist immediately when you have any unusual oral symptoms like bad breath, mouth sores, red or swollen gums or sore jaws.
Quality Care for Seniors at Alex Bratic Dental Care in Beenleigh
Alex Bratic Dental Care is the perfect combination of comfort, convenience and excellent care in Beenleigh. We have specific treatments for patients of all ages, including children and seniors!
Alex Bratic Dental Care is located on City Road near the Pacific Motorway near Beenleigh Station, with convenient public transport nearby and free onsite parking.