As everyone knows, the baby boomers are hitting retirement age. That means over the next several years there will be upwards of 65 million citizens who can rightly classify themselves as “senior.” Along with the celebration of making it this far in life there will be added health concerns. The older we get the more we pay attention to what our bodies are trying to tell us and that includes our mouths. Here are some of the special dental concerns to be on the lookout for as a senior:
Cause And Effect
There are many dental concerns that can arise from other problems and it is something to watch out for. For instance, a bout of painful arthritis could prevent you from regularly brushing your teeth. There might even be a problem with simply standing by the sink. The effect then becomes letting oral health practices fall by the wayside.
Just because you have dentures doesn’t mean you can escape dental concerns. Those fixtures still need to be cleaned. In some cases, a pair of dentures that aren’t properly fitted could keep someone from eating healthy. That will have a direct impact on their overall health. The solution could be switching to implant supported dentures or using softer material on the underside of the fixtures.
There have also been studies that have shown a link between gum disease and heart disease. The contributing factors are the same. These can include smoking, poor diet, obesity and no exercise. Periodontal disease could be the precursor to heart disease. An unchecked tooth infection can trigger bacterial endocarditis, which puts a direct target on the heart valves. Yes, it’s all connected!
Additional Problem Areas
There are additional problem areas for seniors that you should be on the lookout for. These include the following:
- Dry Mouth: The lack of saliva in the mouth could be tied to a change in prescription medication.
- Gum Disease: As mentioned above, smoking, poor diet and lackluster oral hygiene practices can contribute to gum disease. The same can be said for someone who is diabetic, anemic or has been diagnosed with cancer.
- Losing Teeth: With chronic gum disease comes the potential for tooth loss. In some seniors, this can be a cause of embarrassment that might lead them to withdrawing from their family and friends.
- Stomatitis: This is the buildup of bacteria that occurs with ill-fitting dentures or diminished oral hygiene.
To stay on top of any of these dental concerns, the “twice a year” rule for visiting your dentist applies. That’s good advice for any age!