As people age, they can face a range of health problems. However, one part of getting older which is often overlooked is the changes that can occur to a person's dental health. Because of health conditions which cause neurological decline and movement problems, an elderly person can have problems when trying to maintain good oral hygiene. Below is a guide to some of the dental health problems which can affect senior citizens.
As a person gets older, it is normal that they will begin to lose teeth. If a person lives long enough, they may end up with no natural teeth in their mouth. Having no teeth can have a negative impact on an elderly person's quality of life. Lost teeth can make it very difficult for older people to chew food, which could result in weight loss and malnutrition. If an elderly person you know is suffering as a result of tooth loss, you should book them an appointment with a dentist. A dentist will be able to provide a set of dentures which will allow the person to eat again.
The saliva which enters your mouth from the saliva glands helps to wash away food debris and plaque from the surface of the teeth. Saliva also helps to rebalance the pH levels within the mouth. Both of these actions help to reduce the levels of tooth decay. The medication which is often prescribed to older people will cause a dry mouth, which can have a negative impact on their dental health. You can help an older person to deal with a dry mouth by encouraging them to avoid drinks which contain alcohol or caffeine and by making sure they drink water on a regular basis.
Gum disease is especially prevalent in older people. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to serious conditions such as an impaired immune response and bacterial infections, which can spread to the rest of the body. If you notice that an elderly person has bleeding gums, you should book them an appointment with your local dentist.
If you have any concerns about the dental health of an elderly person, you should book them an appointment dentist straight away. A dentist will be happy to assess them either at home or in the local dental office before carrying out any necessary treatments necessary to preserve their dental health.