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As you grow older, your oral health is likely to change. A number of factors can affect your oral health negatively, and these include general health conditions, the use of medications, and wear and tear. It is also worth noting that cells renew at a slower rate as you grow older. The tissues will become thinner and less elastic, and your bones will become weaker and less dense.
Another reason for poor oral health among older people is the fact that their immune systems will be weaker, and this means infections will occur faster. At the same time, healing will take longer.
In this guide, we will look at some common oral health problems in older adults.
Dental Care Insurance
As you grow older, your medical costs are likely to increase. This is why you need to research different dental care insurance plans, and choose the one that best suits your needs. Dental insurance is similar to regular health insurance, but the premiums and deductibles are much lower. With a good dental care insurance plan, you will be protected from financial risk.
It is also worth noting that poor oral health can end up affecting your general health negatively. To prevent dental health issues, you should brush your teeth every day and eat the right foods.
Dryness in the Mouth
One of the key issues you may experience as you grow older is dryness in the mouth. Letting your mouth stay dry can significantly raise the risk of serious dental issues, so you should try to drink water throughout the day. Dryness in the mouth usually results from medicine use or other medical conditions.
Health conditions, such as cancer and diabetes, can also affect the production of saliva in the mouth. When your salivary glands fail to produce enough saliva, you will have an increased risk of mouth sores, gum disease, and yeast infections in the mouth.
Gums are likely to recede as you grow older, and this might result from a lifetime of brushing too hard. In more serious cases, your gums may pull away from the teeth and expose the base or root of the teeth. This will make it easier for bacteria to build up in the mouth.
This can lead to inflammation and decay of your teeth. Another common gum issue you may experience is gingivitis. This condition occurs when plaque and tartar build-up and inflame the gums. If these conditions are not controlled early, you may end up suffering from periodontitis, and this can lead to the loss of teeth.
Dental Cavities and Tooth Decay
People above the age of 65 have an average of 9.2 decayed teeth. The number of decayed teeth is even higher among low-income populations.
Dental cavities and tooth decay commonly result from the wearing away of the enamel. This condition is also caused by the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria will end up changing the sugars and starch in food to acid, and this will eventually wear out the teeth. You want to avoid dental implants, don’t you?
Oral cancer is another dental issue that affects older people. With this condition, a tumour will develop in a part of the mouth, and this could be the surface of the tongue, inside the cheeks, on the lips or gums, and at the roof of the mouth. In rarer situations, tumours can form on the salivary glands or the tonsils at the back of the mouth.
A key symptom of oral cancer is the development of painful mouth ulcers that last for weeks. Patients will also notice persistent lumps in the mouth or neck. Another common symptom of oral cancer is the loosening of teeth or sockets, and these will usually leave wounds after the teeth are extracted. If these symptoms last for more than three weeks, you should make sure you see a dentist.
Oral cancer is more common in people who smoke or drink.
Your oral health can change significantly as you grow older. This is because of issues such as regular wear and tear, other medical issues, drug use, and drying of the mouth.
Some of the dental issues you may experience as you grow older are gum issues, dental cavities, tooth decay, and oral cancer. It is worth noting that dental issues like tooth decay can end up affecting your general health and should be treated as soon as possible.
The immune systems of older people are usually weaker, and this can increase the time taken to heal from dental issues. It is essential to get dental insurance as the bills for dental care can be very high.
As mentioned earlier, dental insurance is similar to regular health insurance, but you will be paying lower premiums.
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