Three Most Common Oral Health Issues in Seniors

Aging is a natural part of life, and one aspect that is significantly affected by old age is healthcare. Seniors are more prone to various diseases and conditions, which is why most seniors require rigorous medical checkups and assistance in performing their daily activities. That is why most seniors have to live in nursing homes or hire professional caregivers from companies like A Better Way in Home Care.

Another significant aspect of senior healthcare that often gets overlooked is oral health. Due to a common misconception that losing teeth and other dental issues come with age, many seniors and their caregivers tend to neglect oral health completely.

Furthermore, various conditions that often affect seniors such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis and other physical and neurological problems can impact oral health due to difficulties brushing or flossing our teeth.

Finally, due to the fact that nerves inside our teeth shrink as we age, seniors may not feel an issue such as a cavity soon enough to react, which could lead to losing teeth.

Therefore, it’s no surprise to hear that seniors suffer from a number of oral health issues. In this article, we’ll list the three most common ones and more importantly, how to prevent them.

Cavities

Tooth decay is a serious issue that most commonly affects two age groups in particular: children and seniors. In fact, 92% of all people aged over 65 suffered from tooth decay according to a study published by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

The reason why many seniors deal with this issue is mainly due to the neglect of their oral health. Seniors tend to brush their teeth less frequently or neglect to visit their dentist on a regular basis. This leads to cavities slipping by unnoticed and untreated.

The safest way to keep cavities at bay is to schedule regular dental appointments for your senior loved ones, so these issues can be treated on time. If you cannot manage to take your senior loved one to these regular appointments, consider asking a friend or a relative or hiring an accredited home care agency to assist your senior loved one with transportation.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth or xerostomia affects a lot of seniors, roughly 20 percent to be more specific. The reason why so many seniors deal with this issue is likely due to side effects from various medications seniors take to control a number of other chronic health issues.

Drugs like antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, antidepressants, diuretics and blood pressure medications can all produce this side effect.

Since saliva is crucial in keeping our teeth healthy and preventing tooth decay, decreased the flow of saliva caused by xerostomia can also affect seniors’ teeth.

One way to prevent dry mouth from affecting seniors’ teeth is making sure senior loved ones stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and staying away from alcohol and caffeine.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a type of infection affecting gums and the surrounding tissue that keeps our teeth in our head. Gum disease does not only affect seniors but tends to get worse as we age. At first, gum disease is painless and if without regular dental checkups, most seniors never know they have it.

However, at an advanced stage gum disease can cause serious pain when chewing as well as sore gums. Gum disease can be a mild inflammation or a serious health condition.

The reason why most seniors contract gum disease is due to improper or infrequent brushing and flossing. Not taking care of our teeth paves the way for dental plaque buildup. If this plaque is not removed can get harder and cannot be removed by flossing or brushing. Instead, the hardened plaque has to be removed using the special tools at the dentist’s office.

The most common types of gum disease are periodontitis and gingivitis. Periodontitis involves the gums pulling apart from the teeth, leaving empty spaces that tend to get infected. Gingivitis is recognized by the fact that our gums turn red and swollen. They are also more likely to bleed when we wash or floss our teeth.

Help Seniors Maintain their Oral Health

All of the issues mentioned above can seriously affect seniors’ lives. Missing teeth, cavities, and gum disease can all cause difficulties eating which can impact the seniors’ diet and quality of life.

Frequent and proper brushing and flossing, as well as frequent visits to your local dentist, can help prevent all these issues and keep your senior loved ones’ smiles radiating longer.

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RK

Everyone here is very friendly and provides excellent care. I received a full exam on my first visit, and everyone took time to answer my questions and ensured I felt comfortable the entire time - exactly what you want when visiting the dentist. I highly recommend Markham Smile Centre for anyone looking for great dental care.

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There is an ample parking space before you get into the office. The receptionists welcome us friendly with proper COVID-19 procedures in place. The staff worked with patient very patiently and professionally. My teeth cleaning was done by Ying, she explained every detail to me and I did not feel any pain or uncomfortable at all. Thanks to the best team !

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It's been a while since I've been to a dentist but I'm trying to get back on track with health in general. Overall it was great going to Markham Smile Centre! The receptionist (I believe she was Kim) was friendly. The hygienist, Ying, was attentive and gentle during the cleaning; x-ray tech (forgot her name, sorry!) was great too. Dr. Sara Riad explained things with good detail. Looking forward to going back!

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I was someone who was nervous and anxious about visiting the dentist, but the team at Markham Smile Centre has made me feel SO comfortable. Kim is so patient and helpful and Dr. Hwang and Rory are both so professional and wonderful. They thoroughly explain the procedure to make you comfortable beforehand and are very gentle. I now look forward to visiting the dentist!

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I found this place on a whim when I was looking for a new dentist in Markham. My hygienist ying was super nice and her cleaning was very gentle yet thorough. I saw Dr.Jason and he was very nice and informative in regards to what needs to be done and provided me with all the information I needed to make a choice. Would recommend this place to anyone looking for a new dentist, they’re accepting new patients!!

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The clinic was clean and the staff was very polite. I particularly liked the fact that everything was explained to me before going in for the procedure so I knew what to expect at each step. The dental hygienist who did the cleaning for me was also very gentle and took my concerns into consideration. I will definitely recommend them.

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Upon arriving to the Markham Smile Centre, my son and I were greeted with a warm welcome by the receptionists. The hygienists and Dentist were very gentle and transparent with what they were doing. The hygienist that worked on my 9 year old son was patient and very friendly with him, which helped ease his nerves. Our overall experience was A+.

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Since I was little, I have always hated going to the dentist... Its always uncomfortable and unpleasant. These days, visiting the dentist isn’t so bad! Dr Jason, Rory, and the lovely staff at reception make the experience 100x better. I have had absolutely no issues with the gum graft and cleanings that I’ve gotten done here. Everyone is incredibly friendly and helpful, even when I’m calling in or emailing a hundred questions :). I would highly recommend Markham Smile Centre.

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Love this place! All the staffs are friendly and Professional and I mean all, cause I've been to most of their office, Markham , Stouffville, North York, and Maple. Dr. Ko is very professional and patient. Whenever I have questions and concerns he would always reply me . I would say this this dental office take care of you all the way. I would highly recommend everyone to come here for any dental works. =)