Common Problems seen in Seniors Oral Health

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Gum Disease

This potentially serious condition occurs when the gum tissues surrounding teeth become infected because of a buildup of plaque on the teeth and gums. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is recognizable by swollen, red or bleeding gums. Gum disease is a concern for older adults for a number of reasons, including plaque building up on teeth and gums from not developing proper oral health care habits earlier in life. With the proper treatment – including a trip to your dentist – gingivitis is reversible.

 

Tooth or Root Decay

Even at 55+ years, adults can still develop tooth decay, or root decay if gum recession has occurred. It is important for older adults to effectively clean the gums, the teeth and exposed root surfaces to remove dental plaque and food debris. The dental hygienist will also scale the teeth at and below the gum line and the root surfaces to remove plaque and tartar from these areas and make them smooth and clean.

 

Sensitive Teeth

At some point, we’ve all tossed back a nice, cold glass of water only to grimace at that sharp, tingling sensation in our teeth. A number of factors cause tooth sensitivity, including brushing too aggressively with a hard bristled toothbrush, worn tooth enamel and a cracked or fractured tooth. Proper brushing and using desensitizing toothpaste can gradually minimize that sensitivity.

 

Dry Mouth

This occurs when there’s a lack of saliva in the mouth, and it’s usually caused by medications taken for other medical issues, which can become more prevalent as you get older. The biggest concern associated with dry mouth is tooth and root decay, both of which can lead to and tooth loss.