While many things change with age, one thing that doesn’t change is the importance of caring for your teeth. In fact, it might become even more important as we age. So we’re celebrating Older American’s Month by offering some education on elderly dental care to help you or your loved ones manage oral health through the golden years.
Elderly Dental Care
Seeing your dentist twice a year is as important now as it was when you were a child, due to all the changes your body experiences through aging. The aging process alone makes us more susceptible to dry mouth as well as gum disease and chronic health conditions only increases this risk.
According to the Administration on Aging and The World Health Organization, most people over the age of 65 have at least one chronic health condition and most have multiple conditions. Some examples include arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension as well as hearing loss, eye sight issues, back and neck pain, depression and dementia. Managing these conditions typically involves taking medication many of which cause dry mouth leaving older Americans at higher risk for cavities and gum disease. With dental decay and periodontal disease having direct correlations to diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease, neglecting elderly dental care can make these conditions worse.
But it’s not just those with chronic health conditions who are at risk; healthy older adults are also at greater risk for gum disease and cavities. Unfortunately, as many older adults retire, they experience a loss of employer provided health and dental benefits. Even when they are Medicare eligible, only medically necessary procedures are allowed, requiring another option to be in place to cover regular elderly dental care visits. Without easy access to dental insurance, some older Americans elect to skip their regular dental visits, which again puts them at greater risk for oral health problems.
Elderly Dental Care: The Basics
As you age, it is not uncommon to see gum recession and experience dry mouth. Both make you at higher risk for cavities and gum disease as less saliva is present to wash away bacteria. To save your teeth and maintain good oral care:
- Continue to see your dentist twice a year
- If approved by your dentist, chew sugar-free gum after meals when you aren’t able to brush
- Be sure any dentures, implants, crowns or bridges are in good condition and speak to your dentist if you have any concerns
- Look at affordable dental plans that will support your good dental health habits
Contact PERFECT TEETH today for elderly dental care needs or more information on affordable dental insurance options. Living your best life includes managing your oral health care in addition to your overall health. Find a PERFECT TEETH dentist in your area online to make an appointment today!
Find out more about how to keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime!