What Oral Health Issues Should Older People Be Aware Of?
Aging is a natural and privileged part of the human condition. And although there are lots of good things about getting older, there are also some areas where you need to take additional care of your health as the years advance. Oral health is a huge part of this. It’s not just about your teeth and gums, poor hygiene is linked to serious conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes or pneumonia – as these complications are more likely as we age. If you experience tooth pain it can also lead to problems with poor nutrition as you limit the amount and types of food you eat. Oral problems are best caught and treated early – so what should you be looking out for?
When our gums get infected, it can cause serious issues. Plaque builds up on the teeth and around the gum line and if left untreated, this can develop into conditions like gingivitis and periodontitis where your gums become inflamed and painful, and may bleed when you brush them. As well as swelling and irritation, this can lead to complications such as infection of the jaw bone or tooth loss. Mild cases can be reversed fairly easily by maintaining a good oral health regimen of brushing and flossing each day and making sure to book in with Nashua dentists on a regular basis for professional support.
Oral sores or abrasions that don’t seem to heal or get better are something you need to seek treatment for. As your risk of oral cancers increases past the age of 55, it’s very important to book in a regular check up so that any changes in your mouth can be monitored and you can access the treatment you need as soon as you need it.
A lot of older people experience a much drier mouth due to hormonal changes in the body. This can lead to a decline in the production of saliva, which in turn can cause issues with chewing, swallowing, eating and even talking. Saliva has a role to play in protecting your mouth from the effects of bacteria, including halitosis and tooth decay. It can also be accelerated if you experience any head or neck injuries, chemo or radiotherapy treatment, or side effects from medications used to treat depression, cholesterol or high blood pressure.
You may also experience pain in the teeth and jaw. In extreme cases, this can cause issues with eating and nutrition if you don’t get the problem seen to. This reduced appetite or food restriction can cause a whole host of other health issues, so it’s very important to get the cause of the pain seen to and treated by a dentist in Nashua promptly. Proper treatment is usually straightforward if the problem is caught early enough, before complications can develop.
The simplest route to maintaining great oral health as we age is:
- Brush three times a day with a suitable toothbrush
- Floss between the teeth at least once a day
- Schedule a regular check-up appointment with your dentist and call for an emergency appointment if you start to experience any issues
If you cover off these basics, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy great oral health in your later years.