Dental Care for Aging Boomers and Seniors
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With proper home care and routine dental check-ups, our teeth can last a lifetime. Regardless of your age, keep your teeth and gums healthy by brushing at least twice a day with toothpaste and fluoride mouthwash, floss daily and visit the dentist on a regular basis for professional cleanings and check-ups.
How to maintain good oral health
As we age, you may face alterations related to your oral health, even if you brush and floss regularly. The use of dental prostheses, taking medications and general health disorders are usually common in the elderly. Fortunately, the dentist and doctor can help you deal with most of these challenges successfully.
Cavities and deterioration of tooth root surfaces are more common in older people than the young. Therefore, it is important to brush with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily and visit the dentist regularly.
Sensitivity may worsen as age advances. The gums retract over time, exposing areas of the tooth that are not protected by the enamel. These areas are particularly prone to pain when faced with cold or hot food or drinks. In severe cases, sensitivity to cold air, beverages, acidic and sweet foods may occur. If you experience sensitivity, try toothpaste for sensitive teeth. If the problem persists, consult the dentist, as the sensitivity may indicate a more serious disorder, such as decay or a damaged or fractured tooth.
Dry mouth is a common disorder in older people, which can be caused by medications or certain medical conditions. If left untreated, this can damage the teeth. Your dentist will recommend several methods to recover moisture from the mouth, as well as treatments or appropriate medications to avoid problems related to dry mouth.
Pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer, can affect your oral health. Tell your dentist about any health problems, so that you understand your general situation and help you meet your special needs.
Dental prostheses make life easier for older people but require special care. Follow the dentist's instructions carefully and visit him if any problem arises. People who use dentures must have an annual examination.
Gum disease is a potentially serious disorder that affects people of all ages, but especially those over 40 years of age. Several factors can increase the severity of gum disease, among which are:
An inadequate diet
Poor oral hygiene
Systemic illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease
Environmental factors such as: stress and smoking
Certain medications that affect the condition of the gums
Because the early stages of gum disease are reversible, it is important to identify them early. Periodic dental exams ensure the detection and treatment of gum disease. Sometimes it is possible to avoid the appearance of gum disease if proper oral hygiene is practiced.
Crowns and bridges are used to reinforce damaged teeth or replace missing ones.
A crown is used to cover or "hull" a damaged tooth completely. Also, it can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. Bridges are often used to replace one or more missing teeth, covering the space left by them. The bridges adhere with cement to the natural teeth or implants that surround the space.