Apr 12, 2018 by Erin Couchell
To raise awareness about the importance of oral hygiene and checking oral health regularly, experts from in home supportive services have prepared this short guide on common dental issues in seniors and how to preserve oral health in golden years.
While some older adults maintain healthy teeth and gums as they age, oral problems are fairly common among the senior population. Some of the most widespread dental problems in seniors include darkened teeth, tooth loss, gum disease, root decay, uneven jawbones, dry mouth, and a reduced sense of taste. Another common issue is oral cancer, which is a serious condition that can develop anywhere in the mouth. The typical symptoms of oral cancer include having trouble chewing or swallowing, developing a lump, sore, white/red patches or irritation in the mouth area, and jaw swelling.
To prevent additional health problems and maintain a high quality of life, it is important to diagnose dental issues early on and get appropriate treatment. However, as experts from in home supportive services point out, the best way to maintain good oral health is prevention. There are many things seniors can do to improve their oral hygiene and thus reduce the risk of oral problems. Daily brushing and flossing are of utmost importance, but it is also necessary to regularly examine their teeth and oral cavity at the dentist.
Experts from in home supportive services advise seniors to check their oral health once or twice per year, even if they have no symptoms of oral issues, just to make sure that everything is fine. During an oral exam, a dentist will ask seniors whether they have noticed any changes in the mouth, including but not limited to lumps, bumps, swellings, loose or sensitive teeth, pain, and discomfort. A dentist will also check their face, mouth, tongue, neck, and throat for any possible signs of abnormal changes. Seniors who wear dentures will also answer a couple of questions about them and a dentist will likely take the dentures out to examine them.
While at the dentist’s, seniors can also get a dental cleaning, which is critical to preserving teeth and gum health. As experts from in home supportive services emphasize, a dental cleaning usually involves removing plaque and tartar, using a high-powered electrical toothbrush, and flossing the teeth. A dental cleaning may be a bit uncomfortable, but it should be performed at least once every year for optimal results.
By following these simple tips, seniors can improve their oral health and avoid all the discomfort and difficulties that come with oral issues.