As if aging doesn't bring enough other issues, it increases the importance of proper oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist on a regular basis are crucial for people of all ages, but the health concerns that accompany senior citizens and their mouths should be diligently considered. It is important to identify age-related dental issues, so they can be promptly addressed. Here are some of the dental problems often displayed in seniors:
Darker, Discolored Teeth
A typical issue for the aging population is dental discoloration. There are several reasons for this occurrence. They include aging tooth enamel, dietary habits and inadequate dental hygiene. Tooth enamel thins due to aging, and the yellow, underlying dentin may become more visible. In addition, seniors may present discolored teeth due to years of drinking coffee or tea. Yellow teeth can also occur due to the inadequate removal of plaque or tartar. Some elderly patients may not feel up to brushing and flossing as often as prescribed or may find it difficult to remember to schedule regular dental appointments for tartar removal.
In addition, darkened teeth may result from cavities or even dental trauma. It is important to keep in mind that darkening or discoloration of the teeth may be a sign of something else, so it is best to have it assessed by a dentist to rule out any serious complications.
Dryness in the Mouth
A common oral health complaint among older people is a dry feeling in the mouth. As a person ages, he or she produces less saliva. In addition, many medications and prescriptions can cause dry mouth. There are some cases in which certain cancer treatments and radiation therapies can result in dry mouth.
Dry mouth should not be ignored, since it can lead to tooth decay. Saliva helps dilute oral acid and wash away plaque, food particles and bacteria.
Tooth decay is often caused by acid in the oral cavity. The acid demineralizes tooth enamel to make the teeth more susceptible to decay. The tooth enamel of a senior has been exposed to more acid over time and is likely to be in more of a compromised state. It is important for elderly people to watch their intake of acidic food, such as citrus fruits. In addition, brushing and flossing should be performed at least twice a day.
To learn more about dental issues experienced by seniors, visit a dentist in your area.Share