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Top 4 Dental Problems in Older Adults

Top 4 Dental Problems in Older Adults

Teeth tear and wear can be caused by lots of things including chewing, gnashing, and grinding. While all these can cause dental issues, it is important to also explore other causes such as medical conditions, medications, and subpar dental care. All these issues can cause different dental issues and today, we will be looking at the most common geriatric dental issues.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is one of the top dental issues in the world regardless of age. A build-up of sugars and increased acidity in the mouth are the most common causes of tooth decay. Conditions that make brushing harder such as arthritis can also lead to conditions that cause tooth decay. 

Once it starts, tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and, in many cases, tooth loss. It can also make brushing the teeth or eating difficult because of the pain. 

While talking to a dentist is a great way of dealing with this issue, preventive care like decreasing the amount of sugar-rich food we eat, brushing regularly, and drinking water after meals can help prevent tooth decay.

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Darkened Teeth

There are many causes for darkened teeth such as different chemicals and minerals in the water we drink, but there is another reason for this in seniors. Darkened teeth in seniors are thought to be due to changes in dentin. This is the bone-like tissue that lies below the enamel of the teeth. The enamel can also thin out as we age, allowing for the yellow color of the dentin to show.

Darkened teeth can also be caused by a lifetime of consuming foods and beverages that can stain the teeth such as wine and coffee. Darkened teeth can be a sign of an underlying issue and should be checked out by a doctor. You can also take measures to prevent this as you age. Seniors can apply for supplemental dental plans that provide funds for cleaning and other preventive dental care services.

Receding Gums

Receding gums happens when the gum shrinks and pulls away leaving the teeth exposed. It can be caused by prior dental hygiene, gum disease, and smoking. There is also evidence to show that family history and teeth grinding are contributing factors. Once the gums start receding, they can leave the teeth exposed. This leads to sensitivity and the teeth may even appear longer. Receding gums can cause damage to the oral tissues which can lead to infections and tooth loss if one is not treated.

Dry Mouth

Many people have dry mouths as they age. The two known causes of this are medications and decreased saliva production. Saliva is very important because it helps clean the mouth and eliminate the acidic environment that leads to tooth decay and gum disease. In severe cases, dry mouth can lead to a swollen tongue and cracked lips, both of which can make swallowing and speaking difficult.

To avoid this issue, seniors should drink enough water and avoid sugary drinks and foods.

While dental issues can affect anyone no matter their age, they affect seniors more due to several factors. Good dental hygiene and regular visits to a dentist are the best ways of avoiding these issues.

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