Older People's Dental Health
Posted 3rd November 2017
It’s a common myth that older people are destined to lose their teeth. Actually, tooth loss is the result of oral disease, not simply age. With a good oral healthcare routine, healthy diet and regular dental care, there is no reason why people can’t keep a set of healthy teeth for their entire life.
However as you get older, your dental healthcare needs may change and other factors as you age may affect the health of your mouth and teeth.
You may notice your gums shrinking back as you get older, causing your teeth to become more sensitive. This puts you at greater risk of gum disease as bacteria forms between the tooth and gums, potentially weakening the bone and risking tooth loss. We recommend using a soft bristle brush twice a day with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. If your mobility or grip is difficult, you may want to consider an electric toothbrush to do the work for you. They usually have a broader grip, making them easier to hold and manoeuvre. Mouthwash may also help, but its best to speak to your dentist for advice on this.
As you age, you’re more likely to be taking regular medication. Some treatments and drugs such as diuretics, decongestants or radiation treatment can affect your salivary glands, causing a dry mouth. Saliva plays an important part in oral health by washing away bits of food and balancing out acid in the mouth. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeine and alcohol can help tackle the problem.
Oral cancer is more common in older people so be on the lookout for patches on your mouth and tongue or ulcers and sores that don’t heal. It’s important that you see a dentist right away if you spot any of these symptoms.
Finally, we would always recommend you visit a dentist regularly, we are accepting new NHS patients or can talk you through any suitable Denplan options. We can then make sure you get the best advice on dental health issues that suits your needs.