As a general dentist in Aloha, our team at Bronitsky Family Dentistry works hard to protect the oral health of patients of all ages.
No matter what your age, a healthy smile matters. For kids, healthy teeth and gums play an important role in helping to maintain their oral health development. For seniors, quality oral health can help lower their risk for disease and prevent permanent tooth loss.
Seniors have an especially high risk for the development of tooth and oral infection, and the complications these types of problems can cause can permanently alter their smiles.
The loss of permanent teeth, a condition typically caused by an infection, can not only change an individual’s appearance, it also make eating and chewing more difficult.
When seniors lose the ability to properly chew, they tend to switch their diets to include more soft foods like Jell-O, soup, and pudding. Unfortunately, these types of foods don’t carry the same nutritional value as whole grains, proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables. As a result, seniors who experience permanent tooth loss have a much higher risk for becoming malnourished and underweight.
Fortunately, seniors can help to better protect their oral health by practicing quality oral hygiene at home, receiving regular cleanings and exams, and taking care to reduce their risk for oral infections.
Protecting Oral Health Key for Seniors
By now, dentists understand that poor oral health is far more common among seniors when compared to younger patients. In fact, we know understand that cavities develop in seniors at twice the rate when compared to younger adults.
Our risk for gum disease also increases as we age. Up to 64 percent of seniors in the U.S. have either moderate or severe gum disease, compared to less than 38 percent of younger adults. Both the development of cavities and gum disease contribute to permanent tooth loss.
Not only does poor oral health impact our teeth and gums, it can also increase our risk for other systemic diseases.
Cuts that develop in gum tissue as a result of gum disease allow harmful oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. The oral bacteria that causes inflammation to develop in the mouth can also cause inflammation to develop in other parts of the body, such as the joints and even heart. As a result, patients with gum disease have a higher risk for both arthritis and heart disease.
The most important thing senior patients can do to lower their risk for infection is to maintain quality oral hygiene. By making a commitment to the basics, brushing and flossing daily, seniors can dramatically lower their risk for a variety of ailments.
To maintain the best oral health possible, here are a few items to keep in mind.
- Don’t smoke. True for patients of all ages, smoking directly contributes to the buildup of plaque, the primary cause of gum disease and cavities.
- Don’t use medications that cause dry mouth. A significant number of commonly prescribed medications cause dry mouth as a potential side effect. Saliva plays an invaluable role in helping to protect the health of our teeth. Patients who experience persistent bouts of dry mouth should consult with their general dentist in Aloha to see if switching meds could help improve the problem.
- Don’t eat an imbalanced diet. Diets high is sugars and starches contribute to the development of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Schedule regular exams with your general dentist in Aloha. Regular exams give Dr. Bronitsky the chance to spot any signs of dental decay or disease before any permanent damage can occur.
- Brush and floss daily. An easy one that should always remain part of your daily routine.
- Eat a balanced diet. Diets that maintain the proper balance between fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein not only help boost the body, they also work to improve your oral health.
- Ask Dr. Bronitsky for tips. Whether about which brand of mouthwash to use or for fluoride supplements, Dr. Bronitsky is here to provide patients with the resources they need to enjoy a great looking smile for a lifetime.