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Amelia Grant

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5 Common Dental Problems in Seniors and How to Prevent Them

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As people age, they become more prone to different health conditions including oral issues. It is very important for seniors to keep their mouth and teeth healthy. It can be hard since aging makes you more vulnerable to dental issues. A lifetime grinding and chewing make your teeth weaker. 

Below you can find 5 common age-related dental problems and effective tips on how to prevent them.

1. Gum disease

Periodontal disease is a common disease that may appear in older adults. Gum disease appears due to bacteria and plaque accumulation on the gums. Your gums become irritated, inflamed, and may bleed. Severe gum disease affects the gum tissue and may spread on the bone that supports teeth. This disease may interfere with chewing food thus causing digestive disorders

Proper oral hygiene is very important to prevent gum diseases in seniors. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss them, and visit your dentist regularly. A healthy diet will also strengthen seniors’ gums against gum disease. 

2. Tooth decay

Tooth decay is a disease that often affects seniors. As we age, the teeth enamel weakens and becomes more vulnerable to bacterias. Plaque and bacterias accumulate on the tooth and destroy teeth. Tooth decay causes cavities in your teeth and may lead to tooth loss. Consuming certain foods may increase your risk of tooth decay. Sugary and acidic foods make your enamel more vulnerable to bacterias and trigger their growth. 

Other medical conditions can also make seniors more prone to dental cavities. Such diseases as arthritis can make it harder and painfully to brush teeth. Thus, a person can brush teeth improperly or skip brushing teeth twice a day. Seniors with dementia may completely forget to do it. 

To decrease the risk of dental cavities in seniors it is important to brush teeth twice a day and use fluoride toothpaste. A healthy diet and proper water intake will also reduce the likelihood of tooth decay. 

3. Dry mouth

Many seniors experience a decline in saliva production. This is a common symptom of dry mouth. Lack of saliva can make you more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva is very important for a healthy mouth. Saliva washes away bacterias from the mouth and prevents plaque formation. Inadequate saliva production may contribute to excessive accumulation of plaque on the teeth and gums. 

Seniors with dry mouths may have cracked lips and a swollen tongue. Thus, dry mouth makes it harder to eat, talk, and swallow. 

To prevent dry mouth in seniors it is important to drink enough water and avoid foods that promote bacterial growth. Chewing gum may also help stimulate saliva production and decrease the symptoms of dry mouth. 

4. Receding gums

Gums recession is a disease that affects your gums. Your gums gradually shrink away from the teeth. The main causes of gum recession are gum disease and poor dental hygiene. Bad habits like smoking or family history of gum recession are also contributing factors for gum recession in older adults. The symptoms of gum disease often include pain, bleeding, swelling of the gums, and bad breath. 

Through practicing good oral hygiene and quitting bad habits you may reduce the risk of gum recession. If your older adult has symptoms of gum recession, it is important to visit a dental specialist as soon as possible. Left untreated gum recession may contribute to teeth loss.

7. Oral cancer

Seniors have a higher risk of developing oral cancer. This is especially true for those who regularly use nicotine-containing products and drink alcohol frequently. The family history of oral cancer also makes you more vulnerable to this disease. Other factors that may increase the likelihood of oral cancer are human papillomavirus, weak immune system, and an unhealthy diet. 

To prevent the risk of oral cancer in seniors it is important to regularly visit the dentist. The doctor may check whether you have any sores, ulcers, or color changes in the tissue of your mouth.

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