Growing older is a gift not afforded to all, but with it comes a myriad of possible health issues to overcome. If you’re a senior citizen, you probably understand the need to keep up with regular visits to your primary care physician in order to make sure your health is in tip-top shape. But did you know that keeping up with your dental health is just as important? When other health problems are happening, it’s easy to let your dental health slip through the cracks. Senior citizens are at higher risk for dental health problems than younger patients. Knowing your risk factors will go a long way in helping prevent dental health issues down the road. Read on to better understand how dental health for seniors plays a large role in overall health and wellness, and discover how to protect your smile for years to come.

Gum Disease

Nearly 2 out of 3 adults age 65 and older have gum disease. If you fall into that age category, it’s important to be aware of your risk. Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue and can negatively impact your dental health. If left untreated, gum disease can eventually reach the jawbone, weakening the structures holding the teeth in place and causing tooth loss. Your dentist will provide gum disease screenings at your regular cleanings and exams, so be sure to keep up with visits to your general dentist every six months.

Trouble Eating

Dental problems can cause difficulty eating for many elderly people. Misalignment of the teeth and even missing teeth make it difficult and even painful to chew food at times. This means that they are sacrificing the quality, consistency, and balance of meals to avoid further dental problems. Missing teeth or wearing dentures can affect nutrition, because people without teeth or with dentures often prefer soft, easily chewed foods instead of foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications that senior citizens may be taking for physical ailments. It’s more than a nuisance, though –– chronic dry mouth can create more issues down the road. To combat dry mouth, we recommend drinking plenty of water, brushing your teeth often, and chewing sugar-free gum.

Dental Cavities

Due to the dental issues listed above as well as other health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, senior citizens deal with more tooth decay and dental cavities. In fact, around 90% of senior citizens are suffering from dental cavities or tooth decay. It’s important that everyone visit the dentist every 6 months for a dental cleaning and an exam.

As we age, our bodies become more susceptible to health issues. By being aware of the potential dental health concerns as you age, you can face these oral issues head-on. Fortunately, many dental health issues for seniors are preventable.

The best way for people of any age to care for their oral health is by brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting their regular dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and a checkup. Caring for your dental health can have a positive impact on your overall health, as well.

We always recommend reaching out to your general dentist any time you’re concerned about your teeth. Your dentist is just as invested in your oral health as you are, and he or she will be happy to discuss how to improve dental health for seniors.

Everyone deserves to have a healthy, beautiful smile regardless of age or life stage. Our team of specialists here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado is ready to save your natural teeth, relieve your pain, and restore your smile for years to come. Contact us today to schedule an evaluation to learn how we can help you!