Unfortunately, dental health is often neglected among the elderly. However, as we age, maintaining good oral health becomes increasingly important. Senior citizens, in particular, are at heightened risk of developing infections, tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Seniors must care for their teeth and gums, especially if they have health conditions like diabetes or heart disease or take medicines that can lead to oral health issues. If you’ve noticed any changes in your oral health, it’s in your best interest to schedule an appointment with our adept general dentistry/dentists located in Basking Ridge & Morristown, NJ, who can evaluate your oral health and recommend the best treatment plan. Please continue reading to learn how to keep your teeth and gums healthy as you age.
Does the Risk of Cavities Increase With Age?
As we grow older, we are at a higher risk of developing cavities. Older adults are more prone to cavities due to dental plaque build-up. Plaque produces acids that, over time, will eat away at your enamel and create a cavity. If an older adult doesn’t properly clean their dentures to clean plaque, it will accumulate. In addition to plaque, seniors are more prone to cavities because of dry mouth (xerostomia). Certain medications can cause individuals to experience a dry mouth in which their salivary glands aren’t producing enough saliva. Saliva helps wash bacteria from the mouth. When an older adult does not make enough saliva, bacteria build up in the mouth, leading to cavities and tooth decay.
How Does Bacteria Affect Dentures?
Older adults often wear dentures to replace lost or missing teeth so they can enjoy a healthy diet and keep their bright smile. However, when dentures are inadequately cared for, bacteria will stick to dentures. If you wear dentures, you must clean them on a daily basis to prevent the formation of a dense layer of biofilm that can become home to bacteria.
What’s the Connection Between Oral Health and Heart Health?
Research has shown that there is a direct link between oral health and heart health. Seniors have a higher risk of developing heart disease. If an older adult suffers from periodontal disease, it increases their likelihood of heart disease. Gum disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions. Therefore, if you have inflammation or swelling of your gums, you must visit your doctor to determine if you have gingivitis or periodontitis, as these oral health issues can affect your overall health. Ultimately, maintaining good oral health is beneficial for your heart health.
If you have concerns about your oral health as you age, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined dentist from Dental Associates of Basking Ridge, who can help you maintain your oral health and prevent dental problems down the road.