Proper Dental Care for Seniors
Seniors face unique oral care challenges. Our teeth, gums, and bone composition all change as we age. These changes can make it more difficult for seniors to maintain good oral health. Dr. Yamen Akhras specializes in dental care for seniors at Premier Dental & Implant Center in Orland Park, IL. He offers a wide range of dental services to meet each of our senior patients’ individual needs. To learn more about caring for your teeth as you age, contact one of our knowledgeable team members.
Oral Health Challenges Facing Seniors
Seniors face a wide range of oral health challenges. These conditions are just some of the problems that may affect a senior patient:
- Darkening Teeth: Coffee, tea, and other dark-colored beverages stain the teeth over time. Years of enamel erosion may also expose the underlying dentin layer. This layer looks more yellow in color, darkening the overall appearance of the teeth when exposed.
- Dry Mouth: Many medications and medical conditions reduce saliva production. This results in dry mouth.
- Diminished Taste: Our taste buds become blocked over time, resulting in a diminished sense of taste. Dentures, certain diseases, and some medications can also reduce the sense of taste.
- Decay of Tooth Roots: If the gums begin to recede and expose the tooth roots, the roots are then exposed to bacteria and acids. Roots do not have the same protective enamel, so they can begin decaying faster.
- Gum Disease: Use of tobacco, poor oral hygiene practices, and even poor-fitting bridges and dentures increase the risk of gum disease.
- Tooth Loss: Decay of the teeth or roots and gum disease can all lead to tooth loss.
- Shrinking Jawbone: Failing to replace one or more missing teeth with dental implants will cause the jawbone to shrink. The remaining teeth may shift out of alignment and restorations may fit poorly.
- Stomatitis: Poor-fitting dentures and poor dental hygiene can lead to an inflammation of the underlying tissues, known as stomatitis.
Proper Dental Care for Seniors
Seniors should continue getting dental checkups and cleanings every six months. Dr. Akhras may recommend more frequent appointments for patients with a greater risk for gum disease, oral cancer, and other serious conditions. To prevent gum disease and tooth loss, seniors should brush their teeth and gums twice per day and floss once per day.
If you have removable partial or full dentures, make sure you clean these thoroughly to remove food particles and bacteria. Using an antibacterial mouth rinse once or twice per day can help cut down on decay- and disease-causing bacteria. Taking care of your dental health as a senior can help you avoid costly dental procedures.
Learn More About Caring for Your Teeth as You Age
Dr. Akhras and our educated team at Premier Dental & Implant Center can help you understand how to preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible. If and when the time comes for dentures, we can help you select the option that works best for you. Contact our dental practice today to learn more or to schedule an appointment.