Aging isn’t easy, but it can be done gracefully if you are aware of the problems that could affect you before they occur, at least where oral health is concerned. Knowing the warning signs of age-related oral health problems is a key to prevention, as is keeping up with twice-yearly visits to your dentist for a dental exam and professional teeth cleaning. Why make this effort? Some of the most common dental problems experienced by seniors ultimately lead to tooth loss, which creates a need for dental implants or dentures.
As modern solutions, dental implants and dentures can work together or separately to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are one of the most appealing restorative dentistry options for their natural look, ease of care, and longevity. Once in place, dental implants can last for decades with normal brushing and flossing upkeep. There is no need to worry about this solution falling out of place or being compromised in any way. But, what creates a need for dental implants for seniors to begin with?
All-Encompassing Gum Disease
Nearly half of all American adults have some form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Once people reach age 65, the rate of prevalence increases to just over 70 percent. Whether your condition is mild, moderate, or severe, gum disease is a problem, and it can lead to serious infections, pain, and tooth loss.
Gum disease mainly results directly from lack of dental care. Allowing food, plaque, and bacteria to build up on the teeth without cleaning them properly twice a day is a recipe for disaster. But, periodontitis can also be a side effect of age-related afflictions such as diabetes, anemia, and cancer.
In general, gum disease – which is an inflammatory disease – is linked to inflammation within the body, most notably cardiovascular health. Heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure have all been loosely linked to gum health. There are clearly multiple reasons to maintain your oral health – for the sake of your teeth and your overall well-being.
The Rage of Dry Mouth
Age-related health problems may create a need for seniors to take certain medications, some of which can lead to dry mouth. Cancer treatments as well as a decrease in saliva production can cause the same problem. While dry mouth may simply seem like an annoying affliction to deal with, it’s actually a serious oral health problem.
In a healthy mouth, thick and thin saliva must be in balance in order to keep the mouth moist and protect it from any decay that is trying to develop. If these saliva levels are imbalanced or if there is a decrease in either of the types of saliva, tooth decay can develop quickly.
While altering your medications may not be an option, a dry mouth is something you must discuss with your dentist so that greater problems do not develop down the road. Dry mouth can cause cavities which, if left untended, can create periodontal disease and tooth loss. Dental implants, in most cases, will be one of the recommended solutions for your missing teeth.
If you have any concerns about your oral health as a senior – or at any age – contact your implant dentist Brooklynat Bright Smile Design Dental to find out whether dental implants are the right solution for you.