Just like the rest of the body changes as people age, so does the mouth. This is why many older people choose to have their natural teeth extracted and replaced with dentures. However, if proper dental care continues for a lifetime, you may never have a need for dentures. Just because a person has gotten older does not mean he is destined to lose his natural teeth. These are some common dental problems among older patients and how they can be treated.
Surprisingly enough, even a person who has not had a cavity since childhood can suddenly begin having them again. This occurs because many older people suffer from having a dry mouth. Dry mouth is a side effect of many medications that older people need for other health conditions.
If you begin having a dry mouth frequently, it is very important to keep your mouth hydrated. This can be done by drinking water frequently or using mouth sprays, lozenges and mouthwash regularly to keep the mouth moist. The dentist can also apply a protective fluoride varnish to your teeth to help prevent cavities.
As a person ages, the gums may shrink and recede away from the teeth. This can make brushing and flossing very uncomfortable. However, at the first sign of shrinkage, the dentist can show the patient how to brush and floss so that this irritation can be avoided. He may also have special toothpaste and mouthwash that is made for sensitive gums and teeth.
Another common condition among older people is periodontal disease. When this condition occurs, the gums are red and swollen and usually bleed. This is caused by bacteria that is in plaque. If periodontal disease advances, it can lead to severe damage to the gums and complete loss of the teeth.
Fortunately, if a person keeps regular dental checkups throughout his lifetime, this condition can be prevented. With regular teeth cleaning, plaque and bacteria is removed and periodontal disease does not develop.
Visits with your dentist are just as important later on in life as they are when you are a child. If you have spent many years taking care of your teeth and are seeing your dentist regularly, this should be continued for the rest of your life. This can make a huge difference in whether you keep most or all of your healthy, natural teeth for a lifetime or whether you must get dentures to replace them.Share