Taking care of one’s teeth and gums is as important for senior citizens as it is for youngsters — if not more so. The state of an elderly person’s oral health can have a significant bearing on quality of life: how comfortably one can eat, speak, and smile. Poor oral health can lead to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Untreated periodontal disease can worsen chronic health conditions such as heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. At the same time, maintaining oral health as we age becomes more difficult.
Dry mouth increase the risk for tooth decay. As we age, we don’t produce as much saliva. We also tend to be taking more medications, which also increase dry mouth. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can also harm the teeth. Mouth dryness contributes to weakening of teeth. By becoming aware of this condition and reporting it to the dentist, you will do a lot to help prevent tooth decay.
Regular dental checkups provide an important safeguard to maintain oral health. Prevention is a proactive way to strengthen teeth before they become weakened or develop cavities. Dentists will screen for oral cancer, check for signs of tooth decay and gum disease, and evaluate oral hygiene. Everyone, but especially the elderly, should see a dentist once every six months.
Dr. Erin Wolfson
5810 Harford Rd, Baltimore, MD 21214, USA