As adults age, their oral health needs can change considerably. Understanding these changing needs can help to keep older adults healthier and happier well into the Golden Years. If you are advancing in age, or if you are taking a greater responsibility for the health of your parents, these tips from the top dentists in Harrisonburg can make the process a little easier on everyone involved:
Decreased sensitivity. Our teeth become less sensitive to stimulants like temperature, pressure, or pain as we age. That’s why older adults are likely to have dental problems like cavities and gum disease even if they are not in pain. Routine dental exams— even if nothing hurts– is the best way to control dental problems.
Dry mouth. Without enough saliva, chewing, speaking, eating, and controlling plaque can be incredibly difficult. The medications and health conditions that older adults manage can make the problem even worse. These problems can be minimized when elderly adults avoid alcohol, tobacco, choose sugar-free snacks, and increase their daily water intake. More frequent brushing and flossing are also recommended.
Tooth loss. Missing teeth can have a negative impact on an elderly person’s self-confidence. Tooth loss can also have a negative effect on an aging person’s ability to eat nutritious foods, their ability to speak, and even their ability to clean their remaining teeth. The dentist can suggest methods for replacing missing teeth at any age, as well as implement some strategies for preventing future tooth loss.
Gum problems. Aside from gum disease, elderly patients may have a harder time recovering from irritations, sores, and infections in the mouth. Older adults also face a greater risk for oral cancer, so regular dental visits are essential– even if all of the teeth are missing.
Aging with a smile that is healthy and attractive is possible when you partner with a Harrisonburg dentist who understands your changing dental needs. To learn more, call to schedule an appointment today.