Our risk of developing gum disease, dry mouth, cavities, oral cancer, and tooth loss increases significantly as we enter our senior years. Being aware of oral health issues for seniors, maintaining good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly can go a long way in alleviating and preventing common dental problems experienced by adults over the age of 60.
- Gum Disease
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of the bacteria found in plaque. The gums become inflamed and swollen and may bleed while brushing. In its early stages, gum disease is relatively painless, but left untreated it can cause the gums to recede. This creates gaps where plaque and debris can build up, further damaging the gums and the surrounding bone and ligaments, leading to tooth loss.
Gum disease is treatable with proper dental care and daily brushing and flossing.
- Mouth Cancer
According to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 37,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed annually in the United States. Most of those affected by oral cancer are over the age of 60, and it affects twice as many men as it does women. Symptoms include persistent ulcers, red or white patches in the mouth or throat, pain or discomfort, and difficulty swallowing or speaking.
Early detection can save lives, so regular dental examinations are important.
- Dental Expenses After Retirement
The cost of dental treatment can be a concern for those living on a pension. U.S. citizens can attend either a private dental practice or one of the health plans funded by the U.S. government, which are ideally designed for the elderly, disabled, poor, and young.
In the United States, there is no free health service offered, however, in the UK you’ll find many dentists in Amersham offering NHS & 0% finance plans where patients can pay a monthly fee or go for a free treatment and spread the cost.
Reducing The Need For Dental Treatment
As with many other health problems, there are plenty of new habits you can factor into your daily routine to improve your oral health. Here is a list of lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your need for dental treatment.
- Brush Twice A Day
Brushing with toothpaste twice a day for about two minutes helps to break up and remove plaque and tartar, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if allowed to build up.
- Floss Daily
Flossing helps to remove plaque from the tiny gaps that a toothbrush may not be able to reach. Floss before brushing to remove debris stuck in tight spaces.
- Clean Dentures Daily
Keeping dentures clean is just as important as it is for natural teeth. Poor denture hygiene can lead to inflammation in the gums and bacterial or fungal infections. Dentures should be brushed with a non-abrasive cleaning solution before soaking overnight to disinfect and remove any leftover plaque and stains.
- Drink Adequate Water
Drinking plenty of water can help to slow or even reverse the effects of tooth decay, as it increases your saliva levels helping to prevent dry mouth.
- Quit Smoking
Smoking can exacerbate or even cause a range of oral health issues. Not only does it lead to bad breath and discoloration of the teeth, but it also contributes to plaque and tartar build-up, inhibits the healing process after dental treatment, and can increase your risk of developing gum disease and oral cancer.
- Visit Dentist Regularly
Prevention is better than a cure, and there’s no better way to prevent your oral health from declining than attending regular check-ups with your dentist. They’ll be able to detect the early signs of many of these problems and administer effective treatment to make sure they don’t cause you - or your wallet - too much discomfort.
About The Author
Bryan Wood works for York House Dentists in Chesham & Amersham, maintaining and improving smiles for nearly 30 years with a comforting combination of expertise, experience and exceptional standards. Bryan likes to spend his time free time visiting art galleries and photography. For more details feel free to visit www.yorkhousedentists.co.uk