Seniors: What Your Oral Health Means to Your Quality of Life
And the top 3 oral health problems for older adults
Oral pain is common in many older adults because regular dental care and exposure to water fluoridation often wasn’t available when they were younger.
Toothaches and mouth pain can signal tooth decay or other serious oral problems, so don’t ignore it.
Here are the top three dental problems you may experience as a senior and what you can do to safeguard your oral health.
Top 3 oral health problems for seniors
- Oral Cancer
Oral cancer occurs most often in people over the age of 40 and it can be difficult to detect in its early stages. Be sure to let your dentist know right away if you see:
- Red or white patches on your gums or tongue
- Sores that don’t heal within 2 weeks
- Unusual spots in your mouth
- Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Did you know 3 out of 4 adults over the age of 35 have some type of gum disease? Left untreated, tooth loss can occur. Let your dentist know right away if you have:
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Gums that pull away from the teeth
- Dry Mouth
Dry mouth happens when salivary glands can’t function properly because of diseases, medications, cancer treatment or simply because of age. Saliva rinses the mouth of bacteria and acids that attack tooth enamel, the hard outer covering of the teeth.
Dry mouth can lead to periodontal disease and cavities, and hinder your ability to speak, swallow and taste. Drinking lots of water and staying away from sweets, tobacco, alcohol and caffeine may help.
5 steps to great oral health
Here’s how to reduce your risk of oral health problems in your senior years.
- Brush twice a day
- Floss at least once a day
- Quit smoking
- Limit sweet snacks
- Visit your dentist regularly