Seniors and Oral Health

Growing up, you were likely told about how important it is to make sure you keep up with your dental health. This is even more crucial for senior citizens, as they may have an increased risk of dental problems due in part to medications and chronic illnesses. In addition, there are many other causes that lead to missed dentist appointments. By adopting good dental practices, seniors can prevent gum disease, toothaches, and even tooth loss. Here is what to know about seniors and oral care.


Signs of Needing Care

When it comes to dental care, there are numerous signals that can cause concern, especially among seniors. One of the biggest signs is tooth decay. While it’s common in people of all ages, years of wear and tear for older people can cause enamel to be weaker. This can lead to a higher risk of cavities. Gum disease is another factor that should be considered. According to the CDC, about 2 in 3 adults over the age of 65 have some form of gum disease. While it starts as gingivitis with swollen or bleeding gums, it can lead to periodontitis, where gum tissue recedes and teeth can loosen or even fall out.

If you have full or partial dentures, you should place a priority on your oral health. When you get your dentures, be sure to follow all directions for care from your dentist, including daily cleaning and proper storage. If there are any signs of damage, or if they are causing you any discomfort, make sure your professional is notified. Other signs to watch for include dry mouth, which may be exacerbated by medications or chronic conditions, higher tooth sensitivity, and even osteoporosis, which can reduce bone density in the mouth.


How Dental Health Can Improve

While there are numerous things that can affect a senior’s dental health, there are equally ways to prevent and reduce the impacts they may have. Some of the primary steps to take are the ones you’ve heard about at every age: brush twice a day, floss regularly, and schedule a regular visit with a dentist. There are additional things you can do as well. For instance, encourage your loved one to adopt a healthier diet. By reducing foods that are higher in sugar, tooth decay can be prevented as well as other health issues. In addition, if you have a senior who smokes, getting them to quit can be beneficial.


Finding Affordable Care

Getting quality dental care is an important step for everyone’s total health. However, in many cases, out-of-pocket costs deter people from getting the care they need. Depending on the situation, there are options that make dental care affordable. If you need a procedure completed that’s typically more expensive than a routine checkup, consider comparing prices between dentists, as they typically can vary significantly. You may also want to select a standalone dental plan, which offers many options for coverage with some having affordable monthly premiums. In addition, check with your dentist to see if a monthly payment plan can be worked out, allowing you to spread out the cost of a procedure over a longer timeframe.

Getting proper dental care is an important step for everyone, especially seniors. Thanks to scientific developments and an emphasis on preventive care, it’s easier to get the dental services you need. By knowing the signs to look for, as well as what you can do proactively, you can keep smiling through your golden years.