As we age, our teeth, gums and mouth in general change. With those changes come different challenges and different areas of emphasis in our oral care. For example, as we tell patients at our Aspen dental office, the concerns of adults in their 60s, 70s and beyond are much different than those of people who are middle aged or younger.
Dental Care Considerations for Older Adults
Some of the oral health issues that are more prevalent with older adults include:
- Tooth loss. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research says that on average, people age 65 and older have lost 13 teeth. However, in most cases, tooth loss is preventable.
- Cavities. Our gums recede as we age, exposing more tooth surface, which means increased risk for cavities.
- Root decay. The same gum recession that exposes more of a tooth will eventually expose its root. And, while the surface of a tooth is covered with hard enamel, roots have a softer surface called cementum. This makes it easier for plaque to attack them and cause decay.
- Dry mouth. Many of the medications taken by older adults can cause dry mouth, and with it an increased risk of tooth decay. This occurs because saliva is not washing away bacteria and food particles.
- Oral cancer. Cancer of the mouth, tongue and throat becomes more common as we age.
- Decay around old fillings. Although fillings resolve an existing cavity, later they can be the site of decay as bacteria gathers around their edges. Fillings also weaken and fracture over time.
The Oral Health Solution for Seniors
While there are many unique dental health issues facing seniors, they can all be successfully addressed with a two-part strategy consisting of excellent home care and regular cleanings and checkups. At Elevate Dental Wellness, we ensure that seniors get the care and the information they need to maintain excellent oral health. To make an appointment with Dr. Steinbach or Dr. Van Gorden in our Aspen dental office, please call 970-279-5647 or connect with us online at elevatewillits.com.
We’ve proudly provided comprehensive dental care to Basalt, Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and surrounding Colorado areas for 25 years.