Dental Health for Seniors - Mature Health Center

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Dental Health for Seniors

Feb 20, 2014

Dental Health for Seniors

Guest post by Caroline Young, a full-time news reporter in Atlanta, a part-time freelance journalist to TopDentists.com and a yoga instructor. As a health enthusiast, she writes about health topics often in an effort to help others live the best lives they can.

Aging gracefully can be easier if you know what to expect and how to treat all the factors that come along with it. When it comes to dental health, there are several changes in the mouth as a person gets older. Luckily, there are ways to treat each issue.

Tooth Decay

One of the most common issues with seniors is tooth decay, which happens after teeth are exposed to bacteria, plaque and tartar for several years. There are different levels, ranging from a cavity to total tooth loss. To beat tooth decay and avoid losing any teeth or having a root canal, there are home care techniques to re-mineralize the tooth/teeth. First off, acidic foods and drinks need to be avoided, including sports drinks, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, orange juice, lemonade, cheese, certain grains like white flour and corn starch, and protein producing acids like red meat and oysters. The way to go is eating nutritious foods and taking calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K2, which is essential for mineral absorption and bone strength. Dealing with tooth decay requires procedures like dental fillings, crowns, porcelain veneers and bonding.

Gum Disease

Another common dental problem is gum disease, a result of physiological changes and consistent exposure to bacteria in the gums. To avoid both tooth decay and gum disease at all costs, start by practicing consistent dental habits throughout life. Daily brushing and flossing, along with professional cleanings are basic yet important factors in fighting gum disease. If gum disease does occur, it is necessary to treat it properly because it can inevitably lead to tooth loss. Aside from the cosmetic issues that come along with losing teeth, it often affects eating and socializing. Implants, bridges and dentures are all possible treatment options for gum disease, depending on the level of severity.

Dry Mouth

A less serious senior dental issue is dry mouth, which is simply annoying, and caused by aging salivary glands. Drinking plenty of water for hydration will help with fighting dry mouth, as well as chewing xylitol gum, breathing through the nose as much as possible or using an over-the-counter saliva substitute. Stay away from tobacco products, too.

Keep healthy!


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