Your body experiences many changes as it ages and seeing your dentist twice a year is as important for the elderly as it is for children. The aging process makes you vulnerable to dry mouth as well as gum disease and chronic health conditions.
The Administration on Aging and The World Health Organization both state that most people over age 65 have at least one chronic health condition and most have multiple conditions. Some examples include arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension as well as hearing loss, eyesight issues, back and neck pain, depression and dementia. Managing these conditions typically involves taking medication many of which cause dry mouth leaving older Americans at higher risk for cavities and gum disease. With dental decay and periodontal disease having direct correlations to diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease, neglecting elderly dental care can make these conditions worse.
It’s more than just about chronic health conditions though. Healthy older adults are also at greater risk for gum disease and cavities. Upon retirement, many older adults lose their employer-provided health and dental benefits. Medicare eligible patients are granted only medically necessary procedures requiring other options to be in place to cover regular elderly dental care visits. Some older adults just choose to forgo the regular cleanings to save the money and trouble. This just increases risks again.
As you age, it is not uncommon to see gum recession and experience dry mouth. Both make you at higher risk for cavities and gum disease as less saliva is present to wash away bacteria. To save your teeth and maintain good oral care:
- Continue to see your dentist twice a year
- If approved by your dentist, chew sugar-free gum after meals when you aren’t able to brush
- Be sure any dentures, implants, crowns or bridges are in good condition and speak to your dentist if you have any concerns
- Look at affordable dental plans that will support your good dental health habits
Call Connoyer Dental at 217-223-9137 today for elderly dental care needs or more information on protecting your smile. Living your best life includes managing your oral health care in addition to your overall health.