Dental Health in Elderly Population
With our modern lifestyles, life expectancy is increasing. With increased life expectancy and due to modern advanced dental technologies, more people are keeping their teeth longer. Keeping them longer means they will need more ongoing maintenance and will also have some ongoing problems as a part and parcel.
Some common dental issues in the elderly are:
- Dry Mouth –
This is caused mainly as a side effect of the medications, but at the same time, it is caused by the ongoing aging changes in the body as well. Dry mouth can lead to a whole lot of dental problems like decay, bacterial infections, mouth ulcers. There are some formulations available for dry mouth that can take the unpleasant feeling of a dry mouth away. At the same time, sugar-free chewing gums & water can also be used to encourage the flow of saliva. Your dentist will be able to prescribe fluoride formulations that can help prevent decay in cases of dry mouth.
- Tooth fractures –
Teeth with old fillings can become weak and develop fracture lines over a period of time. These teeth can chip off or break. Seeing your dentist regularly helps as we can detect fracture lines in your teeth and be proactive, acting sooner to repair them. If left for too long, these fractures can be catastrophic.
- Medications –
As the age progresses, you may be advised some medications by your doctor like blood thinners, drugs for weak bones. These medications come with certain side effects for example the medications for weak bones affect the healing potential of your jaws OR blood thinners make you bleed more. Thus, it is prudent to go for regular check-ups so that more invasive procedures like complicated extractions can be avoided.
- Well-Fitting Dentures –
Many elderly people may have dentures, replacing either a few teeth or full dentures. It is important to ensure that the dentures are well-fitting. If the fit of dentures is not good, it can cause complications like ulcerations or collapse in the vertical dimension of the mouth. Ideally, the dentures should be replaced every five years as the gums shrink with time, thus causing the dentures to become loose.
If you find yourself or your loved ones struggling with these issues, please give us a call and one of our friendly dentists will be happy to help you!!