How Do Oral Care Needs Change With Age?

How Do Oral Care Needs Change With Age?

Like all other areas of physical health, mouths aren’t immune to the effects of aging. But with the right knowledge and strategic oral care practices, older adults can keep their teeth healthy and their smiles strong. To help patients understand these changing needs, Hulse Dental in Onalaska, WI, lists a few ways age impacts oral health and what can be done to preserve it.

5 Ways Aging Can Impact Oral Care Needs

1. Dry Mouth

oral care

Saliva production slows with age, especially if an individual is taking medications that result in dry mouth. This makes it harder for the mouth to clean out bacteria responsible for cavities and gum disease. Chewing sugar-free gum and drinking water can help alleviate dry mouth. To keep decay at bay, seniors should continue to brush twice a day and floss daily, as well as visit a dentist regularly.

2. Decreased Sensitivity

Growing older can cause blood vessels to become smaller—including those in teeth. As this happens, adults may be less prone to feel pain if a tooth is infected and may not know when to seek dental care. Visiting the dentist at least every six months for a cleaning and exam is the best way to spot elusive problems.

3. Gum Disease

Dry mouth, poor diet, and reduced immunity are why seniors are more likely to develop gum disease than other age groups. Left untreated, gum disease can contribute to tooth loss as well as other health problems, like heart disease and stroke. Scheduling dental cleanings, eating healthy, flossing thoroughly twice a day, and using an antibacterial mouthwash are all essential steps for preventing gum disease.

4. Tooth Loss

Although osteoporosis can occur at any age, this bone-weakening disease is most common among older adults, especially women. In addition to weakening bones, osteoporosis can cause teeth to become more brittle. To prevent teeth from falling out due to osteoporosis, it’s essential to consume bone-building nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D.  

5. Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a potentially fatal disease that occurs more frequently in older adults. While treatment can keep individuals healthy, early detection is crucial. As such, patients must see their dentist routinely for oral cancer screenings. It’s also strongly recommended that patients stop smoking and drinking alcohol, as these activities are associated with a higher risk of oral cancer.

Whether you’re a senior, a child, or somewhere in between, Hulse Dental makes it easy to get the professional help you need to safeguard your smile. Providing comprehensive family dentistry services, Dr. Kurt Hulse can address any of the above issues with advanced diagnostic tools, comfortable treatment options, and compassionate patient-centric care. Visit this Onalaska, WI, dental clinic online to learn more about these oral care services, or call (608) 783-1306 to schedule an appointment.

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