Maintaining your oral health as you age

There are plenty of challenges that come along with aging, and it is important to take good care of yourself and your overall health as you age. Taking good care of your oral health is especially important; if you want to feel good, look good, and stay healthy throughout your life, a healthy mouth makes quite a difference. Your teeth can last a lifetime if you care for them properly, and as your partner in dental health, we are here to help. Affinity Dental works with many mature clients, and our dental care team is well-versed in geriatric dentistry. In this blog we discuss some of the most important factors for our mature clients to remember when caring for their oral health. Be sure to give us a call today if you have any questions at all!

Representing nearly 20% of the total U.S. population, adults 65 years and older are a growing demographic. The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics projects the number of U.S. adults 65 years or older will reach 72 million by the year 2030. This means adults 65 and older are also a growing demographic in dental practices, and while approximately 5% of these seniors are edentulous, older adults are increasingly retaining their natural teeth. Still, these mature adults have a unique set of needs and issues that must be attended to. At Affinity Dental, we value our mature clients, and we work closely and carefully to attend to their specific needs. 

These are a few of the topics we often speak with our mature clients about:

★ Xerostomia

 Xerostomia is also known as dry mouth, and affects 30% of patients older than 65 years and up to 40% of patients older than 80 years. Xerostomia often results as an adverse effect of medication, and is most likely to occur in individuals with an intake of more than 4 daily prescription medications. Conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease can also lead to xerostomia. Xerostomia, when it occurs, can lead to mucositis, caries, cracked lips, and fissured tongue. We at Affinity recommend individuals with dry mouth make a habit of drinking or at least sipping regular water throughout the day, and limit alcoholic beverages and beverages high in sugar or caffeine, such as juices, sodas, teas or coffee (especially sweetened).

★ Increased risk for root caries

Approximately 50% of persons aged older than 75 years of age have root caries affecting at least one tooth. Older adults are frequently at increased risk for root caries because of the occurrence of xerostomia (dry mouth) and gingival recession that exposes root surfaces. At Affinity, we often discuss with our mature clients how good oral hygiene, including the use of rotating/oscillating toothbrushes, topical fluoride (through daily mouth rinses, high fluoride toothpaste and regular fluoride varnish application), and attention to dietary intake, can have positive effects on caries. We can also discuss the use of silver diamine fluoride (SDF), which has shown effectiveness in the prevention and arrest of root caries in older adults (ada.org).  

 

★ Hearing loss, Vision loss, Physical limitations, and Cognitive Impairment

At Affinity Dental, we are sensitive to the needs of all of our patients, but we understand that our mature clients often face additional obstacles that must be considered. Patients with hearing loss, vision loss, physical limitations/loss of mobility, and/or cognitive impairment/decline may have an especially difficult time maintaining good oral care habits, communicating their dental care needs, and following directions from their dental care provider. You can be assured that at Affinity Dental, we are experienced with working with older adults, and we are committed to assisting these patients with their specific needs. At Affinity, we will always treat you and your loved ones with dignity and respect. 

 

There will be changes to your overall health as you age, but at Affinity Dental we are here to partner with you in maintaining optimal oral health. We appreciate our mature clients, and we understand your specific needs. Our dental team will work closely with you, listen to your needs, and together develop solutions that work for you as an individual. Through open communication, preventative maintenance, and routine cleanings, we can help you maintain your oral health as you age. Count on Affinity to go above and beyond to meet your needs for a healthy smile. Call us at (619) 697-2800 or contact us here today!