Smile! Getting older doesn’t have to mean losing your teeth. Tooth loss is the result of largely preventable oral disease, not the aging process. Unfortunately, tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in seniors, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Oral diseases can cause problems elsewhere in the body, and good oral hygiene has been linked to heart health, digestive health, even emotional health.
It’s a fact of life that our teeth, gums and jawbones change as we get older. Medications and medical conditions originating elsewhere in the body can threaten oral health, as well. For these reasons, it’s important that key preventive strategies such as good oral hygiene, regular cleanings and dental exams remain a priority in our lives as we age.
For many seniors, seeing a dental hygienist twice a year for cleanings and a dentist once a year for a full check-up is sufficient for preventative dental care. Individuals with gum disease, a genetic predisposition for plaque build-up or cavities, or a weakened immune system need to visit the dentist more frequently for optimal care. Consult with your dentist to decide the best plan for your teeth.
Even seniors with no teeth need to visit the dentist regularly, since routine dental visits address many aspects of oral health, such as adjusting ill-fitting dentures and oral cancer screenings.
Take care of your teeth at every age. They are an important part of a long, happy and healthy life.