In 2015, it was estimated that about 47.8 million people living in the United States were over the age of 65 (United States Census Bureau). That means currently, about 15% of the American population is aged 65 or older. Unfortunately, the largest percentage of those who have gum disease or other periodontal diseases are also aged 65 and over. At Hicks Dental Group, we want to see you stay healthy as you grow older, therefore we strongly believe in treating periodontal disease in Prescott. We believe taking care of your teeth is a valuable part of aging well.
Gum Disease and Periodontal Disease over age 65
Dry mouth caused by medications. Many medications prescribed to older adults (American Dental Association, 2018) list a dry mouth as a possible side effect. Our saliva helps to flush bacteria out of our mouths, and when we experience dryness it can lead to bacteria getting into our gums, or to food particles staying stuck in or on teeth. As a result, cavities and other symptoms can form. The most simple solutions for dry mouth are carrying a water bottle while away from the house, using an oral moisturizer like a spray or a wash, or chewing sugar-free gum to encourage saliva production.
Poor Nutrition. Eating healthily is the easiest way to maintain good dental health, in addition to visiting a dentist at least twice a year. But many older people choose to eat diets high in sugar, fats, and acids, and they don’t consume enough fresh vegetables or calcium-rich foods. One reason to eat well is that foods high in sugar, or foods that are highly acidic deteriorate our teeth. Another reason for making good dietary choices is that as we age our immune system can’t fight off bacteria as quickly. As mentioned previously, bacteria is the culprit that leads to many dental issues, including gingivitis (inflamed gums). Eating well is essential for keeping our whole system healthier.
Lack of Visits to Dentists. There are a number of reasons why people over 65 may not visit the dentist as frequently, whether it be time, desire, financial difficulty, or simply just because they don’t have any visible dental problems. But symptoms like gum disease aren’t always immediately evident, and other hidden dental issues can go undetected without biannual dental checkups. A routine dental cleaning and checkup is important for removing plaque, and it will enable the dentist to easily and quickly discern any unseen problems.
There is another reason to follow through with those biannual visits. Gum disease, if discovered early on, can easily be reversed. But if ignored until it becomes more deeply rooted in the mouth and jaw, gum disease becomes serious. It can still be treated at any stage in order to prevent further infection in the body, but by making your dental cleanings a priority and eating well, you can help keep your teeth healthy as you age and catch any problems early in their development. We believe treating periodontal disease in Prescott is extremely important for helping the elderly members in our community. Regardless of your age, contact Hicks Dental Group of Prescott Arizona to schedule your biannual dental cleanings and to make sure your dental health is in top shape!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (11/1/2017) Þorgils Völundarson (Flickr)