Older adults commonly experience dental issues as they age and are at risk for desensitized mouth nerves, tooth loss and oral side effects associated with the medications they take. This is why a regular dental care and oral hygiene routine is so important. Reduce the risk of dental issues as you age and be on the lookout for these warning signs associated with oral health issues.
According to the American Dental Association, as the mouth ages, nerves in teeth can become smaller, decreasing sensitivity to pain associated with cavities and other dental issues. Many older adults are unaware they have dental issues until it’s too late. The most common result of mouth desensitization is tooth loss. A consistent daily brushing and flossing routine, combined with regular dental visits, is the best approach to care for oral abnormalities before they lead to cavities or the loss of teeth.
The risk for developing oral cancer increases as you age, and since it’s often not accompanied by pain in early stages, it can be hard to catch. The average age for oral cancer diagnosis is 62-years-old. Common symptoms of oral cancer include open mouth sores, white or reddish patches in mouth tissue, and discoloration in the lips, tongue and mouth lining, lasting for more than two weeks. Individuals who regularly smoke tobacco products or consume alcohol in excess may be at a higher risk for developing oral cancer. Regular visits to the dentist are not only essential for early detection, but will also ensure you have the tools and information necessary to give yourself a monthly mouth self-exam.
Medications & Side Effects
Common medications, including antidepressants, opioid pain medications and muscle relaxers, can drastically affect dental health and cause mouth-related side effects. The most common side effect is dry mouth. Although it begins as a minor irritation, without proper saliva distribution, dry mouth can cause dental decay and increase the risk of developing gum disease and loss of teeth.
Loss of Teeth
Older adults, particularly those affected by medical conditions, often have difficulty managing their daily dental hygiene routine. As the mouth changes with age, the risk of tooth loss increases. We’re here to help create an individualized oral care plan tailored to your needs. At Three Rivers Dental Group, we have a variety of options for both dental implants and full or partial dentures. We’ll work with you to find the best replacement for your teeth to fit your lifestyle. Although tooth loss in advanced age is often inevitable, it can be prevented early on by updating your current dental care routine to include regular visits to the dentist, monthly mouth self-examinations and an excellent daily oral hygiene routine.
Oral hygiene and dental care is important as you age. Make an appointment at Three Rivers Dental Group today for quick, painless, stress-free dental care visits to optimize your oral health. We’re conveniently located in Greentree, Cranberry, Greensburg, and Jennerstown.