Last Updated on April 3, 2023 by Dr Gustavo Assatourians DDS
General dental services
Dental care plays an essential role in maintaining the overall health and wellness of an individual. Taking care of your teeth and gums is important at every stage of life. At a young age, we develop healthy habits like brushing, flossing to avoid dental cavities, and keeping our teeth happy, healthy, and strong. With the advancing age, maintaining oral hygiene becomes an essential part of daily routine. On the other hand, older adults have unique concerns when it comes to oral health.
With advancing age, dental structures become more vulnerable to a wide range of dental health problems. Before discussing the ways to take extra of the dental needs of the elderly, let’s go through some commonly observed dental problems in senior citizens, grandparents, and the elderly. Dental problems in seniors, grandparents, and elderly are:
Commonly observed gum diseases in adults include bleeding, sensitivity, inflammation, and redness. Although they are usually reversible and treatable, in elder age groups, they can get more severe and worse by poor oral hygiene practice, tobacco use, ill-fitting dentures, crowns, and bridges, or even due to certain medications.
Yellowing or darkening of teeth is a natural process. It is mainly affected by the foods that tend to stain, habits, and thinning of the enamel. Although most of the time, the concern is cosmetic; thinning of the enamel layer raises some serious issues, leading to increased sensitivity and decreased fracture resistance. At Channel Islandsfamily dental office, Oxnard, we often explain to our senior patients about tooth whitening and porcelain veneers as a potential treatment for darkening teeth.
Thrush/ fungal infection:
the overgrowth of Candida Albicans causes thrush due to a weakened immune system or certain medications. It should be addressed immediately as this infection can become more severe and dangerous.
Dry mouth/ Xerostomia:General dental services
Saliva acts as a self-cleaning agent in the oral cavity. Reduced saliva production with age and certain medications can cause dry mouth and increased incidence of various oral diseases.
Root/ tooth decay:
Receding gum margins and increasing cavities can progress to roots and nerve tissue, causing sensitivity and increased incidence of pulpal infection and pain.
Loss of taste:
Some loss of taste sensation is commonly observed with advancing age and certain medications. Our dentists always suggest seeking professional help in case of severe problems.
Jawbone defines the shape and structure of a person’s face. Atrophy of jawbones is common with advancing age that could be amplified by the loss of teeth.
Methods Necessary to Maintain Good Oral Health:
Good dental care is essential for the elderly to lower the risk for any potential oral problems.
- A regular visit to the dentist: Regularly scheduled visits to the dentist at least twice a year or more are important to keep track of your oral health and early detection of problems. Professional cleanings can help in preventing tooth decay and bacterial infections. Very often elderly wear dentures; your dentist can inspect your gums and bones.
- Maintaining good oral hygiene: Brushing and flossing is the first line of defense against bacteria, tooth decay, and gum diseases. Since the elderly population is more susceptible to gum problems and tooth decay, our dentist in Oxnard recommends fluoride toothpaste followed by flossing and tongue cleaning.
- Use of mouthwash: Using antiseptic or antibacterial mouthwash one to two times a day acts as an excellent adjuvant to supplement oral hygiene practices.
- Avoid tobacco and its products: Consuming tobacco in any form can cause serious oral and health issues. Staining of teeth is a common side effect of smoking. Chewing tobacco can cause tooth decay, throat and mouth cancer, and other life-threatening diseases. If you are trying to quit, it’s best to ask our dentists at Channel Islands Family Dental Office for information on various cessation plans and methods.
- Diet and lifestyle changes: Balanced diet with regular exercise helps in maintaining good heart and oral health. Consumption of chewy, sugary, fried foods harms the teeth and gum health and is also the leading cause of hypertension and other cardio-metabolic disorders.
- Take care of your dentures, mouth guard, and other appliances: Elderly dental care include the use of dentures and other oral appliances very often. Specific instructions are given to elderly patients on how to maintain proper care of their dentures. If you feel any pain or discomfort while wearing dentures or oral appliances, it is important to consult your dentist.
- Stay hydrated: Advancing age and use of certain medications are usually related to dry mouth. To avoid dry mouth or xerostomia, you can consult your doctor to switch the medication or keep yourself hydrated. Drinking plenty of water every day helps to maintain oral and overall health.
Contact Us: General dental services
If you have any questions related to oral health for your grandparents or elderly at home, our dentists at Channel Islands Family Dental Office are happy to guide you through all your preventive and treatment-related activities. Feel free to call and book your appointment today in our dental office in Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Paula, and Port Hueneme.