One of the things we don’t hear about much after childhood is tooth decay. Unfortunately, studies have shown that seniors are as likely as children to get cavities. New dental technologies allow us to keep our natural teeth longer than in years past. Of course, the longer we have our natural teeth, the longer they are exposed to common risk factors that increase the likelihood of cavities.
Normal Wear and Tear is Tougher on Aging Teeth
Tooth enamel wears down throughout a person’s life. Without the same level of protection, teeth are more susceptible to decay. Receding gums leave teeth roots exposed, which allows decay to affect the formerly covered roots. A loss of density in the jaw bone also leave teeth in a weakened state.
You can combat the signs of aging teeth by using a fluoridated toothpaste and rinse at least twice daily. Be sure to visit your trusty Abbotsford dentist twice a year for professional cleanings and check-ups.
Brushing and Flossing May Become Physically Difficult
Oral hygiene routines become difficult to maintain when manual dexterity is affected by age-related health conditions. Arthritis, stroke, and Parkinson’s make brushing particularly difficult. When it becomes difficult to brush thoroughly and floss properly, tiny food particles stay behind and cause decay.
A variety of electric and sonic toothbrushes are available today that can help improve oral hygiene for many seniors. If possible, a spouse or caregiver should support proper oral hygiene practices.
Lack of Fluoridated Drinking Water Impacts Tooth Health
Whether it was when people were children, or thanks to the boom in bottled water, a lack of fluoride in our drinking water can impact the ability of teeth to re-mineralize. As decay begins, fluoride can often reverse the progression by strengthening the enamel.
If you do not have access to fluoridated water, ask the team at Clayburn Dental about fluoride treatments available for home use. There are also fluoride tablets available that give more protection than just fluoridated toothpaste and rinse.
Decrease in Saliva Production is Bad News
Many medications cause a decrease in saliva production and result in what is called dry mouth. Saliva is crucial in rinsing away plaque and food debris. It also helps neutralize the acids that eat away at enamel.
While there are prescription strength options to help combat dry mouth, you can start by chewing sugarless gum (bonus benefits if it contains xylitol). Chewing gum boosts saliva production. It is also a good idea to drink water to help wash away debris.
Finances are Often an Unspoken Issue
When seniors are on a fixed income, dental issues are often pushed aside for other priorities. Dental care and even dental products can be viewed as extras when paying for food and shelter are in jeopardy.
Visit Clayburn Dental in Abbotsford
At Clayburn Dental, we accept dental insurance directly, but we also offer convenient payment plans that help put quality care within reach for seniors. Give us a call to schedule an appointment to get your dental care routine back on track. Your teeth will thank you!