Gum disease, tooth and root decay, sensitive teeth, diabetes and dry mouth are just some of the conditions that emphasise the importance of oral health in older adults. Let’s take a look at these in a bit more detail.
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.
In addition, some studies have suggested that gum disease may be associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This, along with the other reasons discussed above, makes it important to seek treatment to try and reverse gum disease.
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 practitioner 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.
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 desensitising toothpaste, such as Colgate® Sensitive Pro-Relief™ can gradually minimise that sensitivity.
This occurs when there’s a lack of saliva in the mouth, and it is 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.