An examination of dental care for the elderly
As people get older their dental care needs change substantially as do their medical needs in general. It is not uncommon for the use of dental implant surgery to be used or even porcelain teeth veneers and dental bridge work.
The advances in the types of technology used in dentistry today are providing options for people to keep and maintain a healthy set of teeth well into later life. Dental care for the elderly tends to focus more on restoration rather than the prevention. Windsor Centre for Advanced Dentistry investigates…
The aging process does present its own set of problems when it comes to oral hygiene and dental care. As you get older you become more susceptible to oral disease. Common problems that come about are things like:
- Root decay – this is caused by receding gum lines exposing the roots of the teeth to bacteria and decay.
- Dry mouth – this occurs due to a reduction in the amount of saliva produced and can be a very common complaint amongst OAP’s. Sometimes it is a side-effect induced of medication being taken. Always check the side-effects of any medication prescribed with a doctor.
- Tooth loss/Gum disease – as we age we do tend to suffer with tooth loss (a combination of many of the above factors). Major contributors to this can range from poorly fitted dentures, unhealthy eating habits, those that suffer from diabetes or cancer, general poor oral hygiene and the use of tobacco products.
- Darkened teeth – it is only natural that after decades of drinking and eating that the teeth are affected in this way, especially if the consumption includes stain inducing liquids. The dentine is a tissue that is beneath the tooth enamel and this can also eventually cause darkened teeth.
So what are the ways in which these conditions can be treated effectively for the elderly?
Regular dental examinations for the elderly are a must. This is mostly down to the fact that the more consistent and frequent the visits to the dentist are, the more chance there is of catching any infections or diseases before they spread or worsen. During an examination by your dental practitioner you will find that a thorough check-up will be carried out.
We always come back to the point about making your regular trips to the dentist. The importance of this must be constantly reiterated. People in the UK are particularly bad for following up on arranged appointments and check-ups. Just because you get older does not mean dental care should be neglected.
Here is a checklist for the elderly regarding an oral hygiene routine:
- A normal brushing and flossing routine every morning and evening (the standard twice-a-day should suffice).
- Partial or full dentures should be cleaned thoroughly every morning. Avoid sleeping with the dentures in at night.
- Always check to make sure there are no food traces or partial bits of debris left on them. This can contribute to gum disease.
- If you have dental implants, porcelain teeth veneers or dental bridgework then regular trips to your dental practitioner will be order to check that everything is in order and that the dental work is holding up.
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