People become more vulnerable to several dental problems as they age. However, old age is not always the major cause of these issues. In fact, the major causes of dental problems for the elderly are cancer and diabetes. And to make matters worse, the use of certain medications to treat certain diseases contributes to the deterioration of oral health. Overuse of certain medications can lead to a dry mouth in addition to cavities and periodontitis.
Below are four major dental problems to stay aware of when getting older.
Dry mouth is one of the most common issues that elderly patients report to their dentists. The problem is not age related, but it’s the medication such patients use to treat certain diseases. Did you know more than 500 prescription medications have listed dry mouth as a side effect? Most of these medications are prescribed for allergies, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, pain, Alzheimer’s disease, and asthma. One of the worst things about dry mouth is that it can lead to cavities. You can alleviate some symptoms of dry mouth by doing the following:
- Taking sugar-free candy or chewing gum, doing so facilitates the production of saliva
- Use mouthwash or moisturizers
- Keeping your mouth lubricated by consuming a good amount of water
- Requesting for a change in your medication
- Avoiding coffee, carbonated drinks, coffee, acidic fruit juices, and alcohol
Tooth decay is common among the elderly for many reasons. Over time, gums can recede, exposing the roots of the tooth. This, along with changes in tooth density can lead to vulnerability to cavities as the barriers of the tooth are broken down. You can minimize your chances of developing cavities by reducing your intake of sugary foods. Additionally, ensure that you brush your teeth using a soft toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride. Be sure to ask your dental professional which fluoride gel is right for you.
You can also give us a call at 1-844-9MEDICO to schedule an appointment and we’ll be happy to suggest fluoride gel that would be best for you.
The tissues around certain areas of your mouth may experience saliva pooling resulting to cracking, fungal infections, and bacterial infections. If you are experiencing this, ask your dental professional which gel is right for you.
To avoid denture problems, clean your dentures regularly and scrub them vigorously using a toothbrush. Do not wear them at night. Instead, soak them overnight in a suitable denture cleanser to prevent fungal infections.
Gum diseases are responsible for causing irritation, redness, and swelling in your mouth. It is hard to realize you have this problem until it is at an advanced stage because it is often painless as it advances. Gum diseases may lead to the spacing of the teeth if left untreated. Food particles and plaque can find room in these spaces. Eventually, gum diseases destroy your gums and the bones supporting your teeth leading to tooth loss. You can prevent these diseases by adhering to the right oral practices.
Ask your dental professional if you suspect you or a loved one may have gum disease or give us a call at 1-844-9MEDICO.
Oral Practices to Prevent Elderly Dental Problems
Fortunately, you can treat most elderly dental problems by calling 1-844-9MEDICO and scheduling an appointment and by doing the following:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice daily
- Ensuring you fit your dentures regularly
- Flossing your teeth regularly
- Making regular visits to your dentist for checkups and cleanings at least twice a year
- Replacing your toothbrush every three months
As part of our commitment to the geriatric community, we partner with Medicaid, Medicare and other financial resource groups. Our unique medical and dental model can help answer many of the complex issues surrounding the elderly population. In addition, we also have a geriatric specialist and programs at many of our locations throughout DFW and San Antonio.
We also provide Insurance Benefit Coordinators at many of our clinics to go over benefits and assist you in knowing what all is available to you through your insurance plan.
Fill out an appointment request form or call us at 1-844-9MEDICO for more information!