Oral Health Problems In Older Patients

Caring for all ages at Calverley Dental Practice in Tunbridge Wells

To be clear; dental problems can start at any age once your first teeth have started to come through. There are particular problems associated with children and high sugar diets, with an increase in incidences of tooth decay being reported widely.

One of the age groups to suffer from a particular set of oral health issues though, is the older generation. Whilst they may be less conscious about their aesthetic appearance, although this is not always the case, having a healthy mouth can make a real difference to their quality of life.

Ageing problems

As you might expect, the longer you live, the more chance of losing teeth and other problems are likely to occur. This is not always the case of course, and a lot will depend on how well you have cared for your teeth. There are though, a number of reasons why older people may suffer from dental problems.

‘Old fashioned’ habits

Many older people will clean their teeth in the way that their parents told them to do. This often involves a relatively quick brush, often done with too much force. This can cause enamel damage which increases the risk of problems such as tooth decay and root canal infections. Given that some of the older generation are perhaps more thrifty than young people, it is not unusual to learn that many use a toothbrush which is much older than the recommended three months, before being replaced.

Dental hygienists

Increasingly, younger patients of our Tunbridge Wells practice are recognising the many benefits of seeing a hygienist on a regular basis. Many older patients may not follow this example, having not done this when younger. This is a shame as gum disease is more prevalent in older patients and a regular scale and polish would help to keep their mouths free of gingivitis and periodontitis.

Dry mouth

As we get older, dehydration becomes more common. This can be caused by any number of reasons, including illnesses and the side effects of medications. In addition, some older patients simply do not drink enough water. This can cause the oral cavity to become dry and when this happens, the number of harmful bacteria can multiply, and decay and gum problems can easily occur.

Much can be done in modern dentistry to improve older people’s quality of life. In addition to general oral health care, such as the treatment and management of gum disease, the Calverley Dental Practice also offers dental implant placement for a new set of teeth that are strong and secure, enabling older patients to continue to enjoy a wide and varied diet.

If you are an older patient, or a family member who cares for an elderly relative and would like to find out more; please call our Tunbridge Wells practice on 01892 543898.