Six Oral Health Problems That are More Common in Seniors


Six Oral Health Problems That are More Common in Seniors

Everyone is susceptible to tooth and gum problems. However, as we grow older, tooth and gum problems become more and more common. It is important for seniors to see a dentist more regularly to help prevent major dental issues.

While the risk of all types of oral health issues increases with age, there are certain conditions that tend to arise in seniors more often than other age groups. The top 6 of these conditions will be reviewed below:

1. Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

There are all sorts of reasons why dry mouth may present itself in seniors. In most cases, medications are the culprit. Powerful medical treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can have a dramatic effect on the amount of saliva a person produces.

In other cases, a specific disease or the medications associated with it can be the cause. Diabetes, stroke, thrush, and Alzheimer’s Disease are just a few of the diseases known to cause dry mouth.

2. Halitosis (Bad Breath)

One of the most common oral health issues that seniors deal with is halitosis, or bad breath. This issue arises more frequently in seniors for a number of different reasons.  The most common reason for halitosis is an increase in dry mouth .

Because the mouth doesn’t produce as much saliva, it can’t cleanse itself as well as it otherwise would. As a result, bacteria builds up, and foul smells tend to arise.

Other possible causes of halitosis in seniors include an impaired ability to clean teeth and physical health issues. The exact factors vary depending on the individual.

3. Cavities

As noted, saliva is needed in order to cleanse the mouth of bad bacteria. Therefore, if a person lacks saliva in his or her mouth, a good deal of bad bacteria will perpetually remain on his or her teeth.

The result of this can bedemineralization (the weakening of enamel) tooth decay, and in turn, cavities. In other words, because seniors are more vulnerable to dry mouth , they may also more vulnerable to cavities.

4. Gingivitis

Tooth and gum decay can be a problem for people of all ages. However, it’s even more of a problem for seniors. Everything from diseases (cancer, diabetes, etc.), to medications, to prolonged tobacco use, to inability to clean teeth effectively at home can cause a person to develop gingivitis.

Because seniors are generally more prone to the above-reviewed factors, they are also more prone to gingivitis. For this reason, seniors should be especially diligent in following through with a good oral health routine.

5. Tooth Loss

Tooth loss is more common in seniors for all of the reasons listed above. Certain diseases and medications have an effect on oral health. As we age, teeth become worn down and bone loss becomes more prevalent. Old dental work may begin to fail, and it becomes more difficult to keep up with oral hygiene. All of these things can contribute to tooth loss.

6. Tooth Discoloration

Perhaps the most common oral health issue that seniors face is tooth discoloration. The reason for this is simple: seniors have lived with their teeth for longer than non-seniors have, and therefore, they’ve exposed their teeth to more damaging substances.

Everything from sugar, to coffee, to tobacco can cause teeth to become discolored. If a person consumes these foods on a regular basis, the yellowing and browning of his or her teeth is bound to occur.

Combat Oral Health Issues with the Help of a Dentist in Lincoln Square, Chicago

There is a lot that goes into combating these oral health conditions in seniors. However, a big part of the equation is scheduling more frequent dental appointments.

Interested in scheduling a dental appointment in Lincoln Square, Chicago? If so, Dr. Thomas E. Murray and the dental professionals with Dental Innovations are the people to see.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Murray today!