Dental health is one of the most important aspects of our overall health. We only have one set of teeth, and they need to last our entire lives, so it is important to take care of them. Unfortunately, our mouths can be a breeding ground for bacteria and dental injuries and issues are unfortunately quite common.
This is increasingly true as we get older. Tooth enamel weakens with age and can make people more prone to damage, injuries or disease. Not only does damage and decay hurt and potentially look bad, but it can also be quite expensive. As a result, having dental insurance coverage as we get older is incredibly important. Of course, you will also need to be aware of what dental insurance covers to make sure your needs are met.
And while going to a dental professional is always a good idea if you are struggling with something, there are some ways to treat common issues at home. This can save you a trip and help you practice better dental hygiene to prolong the health of your teeth and gums.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the most common dental issues that seniors may face and how they can be treated and helped.
Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) is quite common amongst senior citizens. It is when gums become swollen and red due to the bacteria in plaque and food left in the teeth. It can eventually get bad enough to lead to bleeding gums and can even destroy the gums. It is such a huge problem as it usually takes years to develop and is painless at first.
One of the best ways to prevent gum disease is simply to practice good hygiene. Brushing regularly, flossing frequently and using a quality mouthwash or rinse can go a long way. Changing up your diet can also potentially have good results. Of course, frequent dentist appointments and cleanings are instrumental in preventing gum disease.
Darkened or Stained Teeth
After a lifetime of consuming foods and drinks like coffee, wine, soy sauce, and other things, our teeth can become stained or dark. This is why you may see many seniors with a dark tooth or several darker teeth. This can also be caused by dentin changes or the thinning of the enamel.
In order to prevent this discoloration, watch what you eat and drink. Because this issue is mainly cosmetic, you could also look into teeth whitening and see if it helps your problem. However, in addition to simply looking bad, darkened teeth can sometimes be a warning sign for a more serious problem, so be sure to go to the dentist and see.
Dry mouth is caused by reduced saliva flow and can affect anybody, but is quite common in older individuals. A big reason for this is due to medication. Many medications have a side effect of causing dry mouth and with most senior citizens taking some kind of medication, it is no surprise that they are most affected by this issue.
Of course, there are other causes of dry mouth like infections, illnesses, clogged nasal passages, and even hormone changes. Thankfully, there are many ways to help treat dry mouth such as drinking enough water, use alcohol-free mouthwash and try not to breathe through your mouth. If your dry mouth is caused by medication, look at other options without that side effect.
In conclusion, we hope that this blog post has been able to help you learn how to treat the most common dental health issues that seniors face. Of course, there is no substitute for a great dentist or dental professional, but learning some ways to help or treat your issues at home is never a bad thing.