The gift of old age comes with the responsibility of taking care of yourself longer. As you grow, it becomes even more important to make your health and well-being a priority. This is because your body is not what it used to be when you were younger. While you could easily bounce back from your transgressions while you were in your mid-thirties, your eighty-year-old body requires more gentle care and sensibility. This truth holds for oral health as well. The older you are, the more likely you are to find yourself facing oral concerns that you have never had to worry about before. Most seniors face similar dental health issues: bad breath, dry mouth, tooth loss, gum disease and even cavities. In the sections below, we dive deeper into what causes these problems and the steps you can take to ensure they do not stop you from living your life.
Bad Breath and Dry Mouth
Bad breath is a condition that is easy to detect and that can easily undermine the quality of your social interactions. Unfortunately, bad breath is a reality that is lived by many seniors. There are several reasons why seniors are especially susceptible to bad breath. For starters, seniors are often on certain types of medication to manage various conditions and ailments. Some medications are known to dry up the salivary glands, or at least to impede the production of saliva. When this happens, the result is likely to be dry mouth. Dry mouth can result in bad breath.
Another reason why seniors might experience bad breath is poor dental hygiene. As you grow older, you might feel unmotivated to brush your teeth, or you could simply forget to do so. If you have dentures, you might even find it unnecessary to care for them as you would your natural teeth. Going for days and weeks without properly brushing your teeth can very easily lead to bad breath.
Bad breath might also be a result of underlying medical conditions such as kidney and liver infections, or even diabetes. Our dentist at Guelph Royal Dental Centre will help you assess the root cause of your bad breath and dry mouth and then recommend solutions for the same.
Loss of Teeth
It can be quite frustrating to deal with tooth loss. Unfortunately, a majority of seniors have to deal with this frustration. By the time seniors reach the age of 65, there is a high likelihood that they have lost at least 14 teeth. What’s even worse is that a quarter of all seniors have lost all their teeth. There are several reasons why tooth loss is so prevalent among the older generation. Gum disease is quite common in older folks. When left unchecked, gum disease can lead to loss of gum tissue and the surrounding bone mass. When this happens, there will be no structures left to support teeth, leading to tooth loss. Proper dental hygiene, and checking regularly with your dentist will go a long way in preventing tooth loss. If you have lost any or all of your teeth, our dentists at Guelph Royal Dental Centre can discuss replacement options with you. You can still enjoy your favorite snacks and a beautiful smile if you consider options such as dentures and implants.
Tooth discoloration is a normal part of the aging process. As you grow older, your pearly whites will no longer be as white as they used to be. Old houses do not look like new houses. There is a certain wear and tear that is to be expected as an individual or even item progresses in age. That being said, your teeth should not be significantly discolored unless you have engaged in choices that put you at that risk. Smoking, indulging in lots of alcohol and caffeine all have the consequence of staining your teeth, which leads to discoloration. Even if you are unable to quit your beloved smoke, you can make sure you enjoy your white teeth for longer by practicing proper cleaning habits. Every once in a while, it is important to visit your dentist for a professional cleaning as well. If your teeth are severely discolored, teeth whitening is an option.
Discoloration can also happen in dentures. Dentures should be given the same attention as natural teeth. If you currently have dentures, ensure that you clean them properly before bedtime and leave them to soak in a cleaning solution overnight. It is also a good idea to rinse out your dentures after every meal. Failure to clean your dentures properly might lead to gum disease. Here’s what happens—food debris gets stuck in the dentures, the food particles are broken down by bacteria and plaque develops. Over time, the plaque irritates your gums leading to inflammation. The end result is gum disease, which is an unpleasant condition that you do not really want to deal with.
At Guelph Royal Dental Centre, we always advise our patients to do their level best to ensure they do not get cavities. Sometimes our advice is heeded and other times it is tossed out, only to be revisited at subsequent visits. The problem with ignoring such sound advice is that you might have to deal with great problems—and cavities—later on when you should be enjoying your sunset years. Continued exposure to sugary foods, accompanied by poor dental hygiene, often results in cavities in old age. If you cannot stay away from sweets and soft drinks at least make an effort of cleaning your teeth properly. This involves brushing your teeth at least twice per day and flossing every night. This way you will have the assurance that there are no nasty bacteria breaking down the sugars in your teeth while you sleep. Because if this were to happen you’d have a big problem on your hands later on.
Whether your teeth are in perfect condition or you are struggling with one or more several concerns, we welcome you to visit us at Guelph Royal Dental Centre for a dental check-up and consultation. We are happy to answer any questions that you might have regarding any and all dental topics.