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Common Dental Problems in the Elderly

Posted on 5/1/2024 by Cantella Dental
Dentist examining older patientWith the rise in average life expectancy, age-related oral health issues are becoming more prevalent. However, addressing dental problems in older adults becomes simpler when detected early. Here are some common dental issues that older adults should be mindful of and take preventive measures against.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is common among older adults, affecting nearly all individuals in this age group. Lifetime exposure to sugary foods contributes to this issue. Additionally, decreased saliva flow, which is common as people age, makes the mouth more prone to infections like tooth decay. Seniors may experience health conditions, such as diabetes, that further exacerbate the risk of tooth decay. Dry mouth occurs when there is not enough saliva to keep the mouth moist, leaving it vulnerable to infection and decay.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a common inflammatory condition affecting older adults, leading to swelling, bleeding, and potential tooth loss. Regular dental checkups are crucial as gum disease often shows no symptoms and can go unnoticed. Gingivitis, the initial stage, can be reversed by incorporating great dental habits. If left untreated, this minor disease may progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease, which can result in tooth loss due to damage to the gum tissue and supporting bone.

Dental Erosion

Dental erosion, which wears away the outer layer of the tooth (enamel), is a problem for older adults and can lead to tooth loss and discomfort. Once enamel is gone, it does not grow back, causing sensitivity and potential tooth loss. Diet is the main cause of dental erosion, with acidic foods and drinks. To prevent dental erosion, it is important to be mindful of these foods, limit their consumption, and maintain good oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing regularly.

Oral Cancer

Older adults, particularly those who smoke or use tobacco products, need to be cautious about oral cancer. However, the good news is that people with oral cancer have a much better chance of surviving if it is detected and treated early. For more information, ensure that you contact us.

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