Smiles for Life

Oral Health And Older Adults

smiling older coupleCompared to a decade ago, people are leading longer, healthier lives. Older adults are keeping their teeth for longer. Still, research shows that older people are the group with the highest instances of periodontal disease and need to take further preventative methods to maintain proper oral hygiene.

No matter your age, it is essential to keep your mouth clean and healthy and to check frequently for the development of periodontal disease.

  • Over 50% of people older than 55 have periodontitis.
  • Older people have a three times greater risk of tooth decay than do children.
  • Nearly 25% of people over the age of 65 have lost all of their teeth.
  • A receding gum line affects older people.
  • In older adults, periodontal disease and tooth decay are the main factors that lead to tooth loss.

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is important to quality of life.

Consider a few of the reasons:

  • In order to speak, chew, and keep proper tooth alignment, every tooth in the mouth must be in place. .
  • In people with periodontal disease, infection can spread to the site of the replacement tooth.
  • Dentures and missing teeth cause patients to have restricted diets, as eating certain foods can be both difficult and painful. Consequently, people with dentures and missing teeth often lack proper nutrition.
  • The majority of people over the age of 65 agree that having a nice smile is essential to person’s appearance.
  • Most importantly, studies have shown that periodontal disease can cause other serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and diabetes.
  • Risk factors have a large impact on the development of periodontal disease. Such risk factors include the status of general health status, lowered immune system response, certain medications, depression, weakened memory, lowered salivary flow, a major change in financial situation, and functional impairments.

Medications And Oral Side Effects

Older adults have increased chances of being prescribed medications that can interfere with oral health and diminish the effectiveness of dental treatment. Common medications, such as antihistamines, diuretics, painkillers, high blood pressure medications and antidepressants, can lead to changes in taste, dry mouth, and gingival overgrowth.

Without moisture in the mouth, you are unable to properly swallow food and neutralize plaque, making you more susceptible to both periodontal infection and tooth decay. Moreover, having dry mouth can lead to problems with swallowing and hoarseness of the throat. Consult your dentist or periodontist for ways to restore moisture in the mouth.

Make sure to inform your periodontist of any medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies.

Special Concerns For Older Women

Research is now linking estrogen deficiency in menopausal and post-menopausal women to having a greater risk of developing periodontal disease.

Additionally, changes in hormones that occur in older women can lead to discomfort in the mouth, such as dry mouth, painful sensations in the gums, and increased sensitivity to salty, peppery, or sour tastes.

Finally, menopausal gingivostomatitis also affects a small group of women. Gums that appear dry or shiny and bleed easily upon contact are common signs of this condition.

Estrogen supplements are known to help women relieve these symptoms.

Periodontal disease and osteoporosis are both known to lead to the loss of bone tissue. Women contemplating HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) as a measure to fight osteoporosis should know that this treatment helps both parts of the body and teeth.

Dental Implants

Dental implants have become increasingly more popular than dentures amongst older people as a solution to tooth loss. With dental implants, patients’ teeth are restored and look and feels just like their former teeth.

As long as your health condition is sufficiently good and your periodontist is able to restore healthy gums and enough bone tissue to support the dental implants, anyone can receive dental implants.

A dental implant serves as a root to hold a replacement tooth in its place. They protect again both bone loss and gum recession that can come alongside dentures and bridgework. Finally, they preserve the nature of facial features, making teeth look as natural as possible and maintaining the natural appearance of the mouth and lips.

Dr. Raschkovsky is a dental professional who is an expert in these precise fields. He not only has years of experience working with other dental experts, but also has the necessary training and facilities needed to maintain facial structure and ensure a natural transition.

Consult with Dr. Raschkovsky to determine if dental implants are an option for you.

Denture Care

Patients with dentures are especially susceptible to bacteria and plaque, and it is important that they actively take part in avoiding plaque buildup as irritation may occur. Be sure to thoroughly clean dentures on a daily basis as well as remove dentures at night. Also, it is important that you regularly visit your dental professional in order to check that the dentures continue to fit properly. If not checked, dentures can cause irritation, bone loss, and infections. An alteration in the fit of dentures can be a sign of the development of periodontal disease.

Perfecting Your Smile

Cosmetic periodontal procedures are not designed solely for patients in their 20s and 30s. It is important to smile with confidence at any age.

The American Dental Association and Oral-B conducted a study in which they observed that almost 50% of participants over the age of 65 indicated that a person’s smile is the first thing they notice when meeting someone. Nearly 80% of those in the study further indicated that a smile is essential to a person’s appearance.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

As you age, it is increasingly important to continually practice proper oral hygiene to further prevent the development of periodontal disease. Because a receding gum line is very common among older patients, periodontal infection often occurs as the roots of teeth are exposed.

To ensure the wellbeing of your natural teeth, you have to remove the buildup of plaque on teeth and gums on a daily basis. By brushing, flossing, and regularly visiting your dental professionals for a cleaning, you can significantly minimize the formation of calculus. It is recommended that you receive a professional dental cleaning at a minimum of twice a year to make sure that calculus is removed from parts of the mouth that are not reached by simply brushing and flossing.

Having a physical disability can make it harder to properly use your toothbrush or floss your teeth. For suggestions including when and how to use an electric toothbrush or floss holder, contact your dentist or Dr. Raschkovsky.

Treating Periodontal Disease

Initial treatments for periodontal disease include scaling and root planing, which involves the professional removal of plaque and calculus. Root planing smoothens root surfaces of areas that have been infected. In the majority of patients with periodontal disease, maintaining proper at home dental care, alongside scaling and root planing, are sufficient in getting rid of periodontal disease. Surgical treatment may be necessary for more severe cases of periodontal disease.

After treatment, in supportive periodontal therapy helps ensure the preservation of your natural teeth. Besides receiving a professional dental examination, a periodontal evaluation is also recommended.

In additional to a dental examination, a thorough periodontal evaluation is performed. To review proper at-home oral hygiene care or to receive suggestions specific to your condition, contact Dr. Raschkovsky or another dental professional.