Dental Issues That Affect Older People

Posted on: 6 January 2022

This article provides a guide to some of the dental problems that can affect older people. Read on to find out more!

Tooth Loss

For many people, tooth loss is a natural part of ageing. A dentist can address tooth loss in several ways. First, the dentist can provide advice on ways to cope with tooth loss. At the same time as discussing coping strategies for dealing with tooth loss, dentists can also prepare an older patient's remaining natural teeth so that new crowns and bridges can be fitted more easily at some future stage. Dental implants can be also used to replace missing teeth. A titanium post (the implant) is surgically placed into the jawbone, which becomes firmly attached to the implant. The person can choose either a fixed or removable replacement tooth (prosthesis).

Receding gums

As people age, receding gums can become a serious issue. The gums begin to recede when the gingival tissues become loose and start to pull away from the teeth, exposing the roots. Exposure to this root surface allows plaque bacteria to accumulate on these surfaces, causing deposits (plaque) leading to gum inflammation (gingivitis). Gingivitis is treated through good daily oral hygiene involving tooth brushing and interdental cleaning. However, poor manual dexterity or limited mobility that commonly affect older people may make it difficult for them to clean their teeth and control plaque levels. If this is the case, the dentist may recommend more regular appointments with a dental hygienist.

Oral cancer

As a person ages, the risk of oral cancer increases. Oral cancers are found most often in the tongue, lips and throat. Regular dental check-ups can help to pick up early signs of oral cancer. Early diagnosis is essential as a treatment for oral cancer (radiotherapy or chemotherapy) is more likely to be successful the sooner it begins.

Traumatic injuries

The number of accidents that older people suffer from can increase with age. Many older people experience health problems that make them less steady on their feet, such as arthritis or Parkinson's disease. The consequences of falls or other accidents may include broken teeth, knocked out teeth, fractured jaws and lacerations to the mouth and face. Dentists can provide temporary solid crowns that will protect injured teeth until they can be repaired (treated) with more permanent crowns. They can also work to stabilise any bone damage.

For more info, book an appointment at a dental clinic today. A dentist will be ready to help.