As time progresses, taking care of our health should become more and more of a priority. You will need to take examinations more often, and you need to spend more time caring for your joints and your bones, and you have to do everything in your power to make sure your system works for as long as you want it to. Keeping this in mind, it should be no surprise that elderly people have very different dental problems than young people, and their consequences can be much more dire as well.
It is important to use your own teeth for as long as possible. This can only be done if you cared for your teeth as a young person, and if you curtail your diet, and take part in regular checkups at the dentist. Sometimes you can inherit bad teeth, but if you have been taking good care of them, you should still have most of them. If you go to the dentist regularly throughout your life, and exercise regular at home oral care, then there is no reason why you won’t have all of your teeth as an old man or woman, unless an accident occurred.
Xerostomia, or chronic dry mouth is something that a lot of old people have to deal with. There are many reasons for why it can occur. Certain medications have dryness of the mouth as a side effect (like blood pressure medication), but it can be the symptom of Alzheimer’s as well. Dry mouth is bothersome, but lower saliva production can actually damage your teeth and gums, too. Saliva is a disinfectant, it also lubricates the teeth removing bacteria and plaque from them, bacteria which can cause periodontitis and bad breath as well as caries. There are many products available today that can help you deal with this problem, both toothpastes and mouthwash that is said to ease the pain of dry mouth. You should get your dentist’s advice before investing in any product. The best thing to do is to drink plenty of fluids.
The older you get the more you have to be aware of the dangers of periodontitis. In women, menopause will bring a hormonal roller coaster with it, which can cause inflammation of the soft tissues. Inflammation of the gums can also be a sign of diabetes, and some types of periodontitis are hereditary, and will only show themselves in old age. The problem is, periodontitis can really ruin your jawbone, especially in old age. What can we do to prevent it? The answer is simple: take care better care of your oral cavity. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, use dental floss, an interdental toothbrush, or something to remove plaque and food detritus from between your teeth. Plaque is where bacteria live, and it causes periodontitis. But overall, do take your six month checkups seriously, as problems that are identified ahead of time are the easiest to deal with.
Unfortunately many of us will not have all of our teeth by our old age. Many elderly people have crowns or bridges, even dentures. A poorly placed prosthesis is more difficult to clean, and we all know what happens when you can’t remove food detritus and plaque; if you are lucky, you can get “just” some periodontitis, and if you are unlucky, you can get alveolitis, or an inflamation of your dentine. Dental implants also require attention. If you do not clean them you can lose them as they can become dislodged. It is very important to note that just because your mouth contains false teeth, you still need to practice daily at home oral care, and crowns need to be cleaned as well. Not doing so can be quite costly, and may require frequent trips to the dentist. It is easier to use proper tooth brushing techniques, this way you can enjoy your original and artificial teeth for longer.
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