Dental health or oral health means the well-being of the teeth, gums, and mouth. Dental fitness can deteriorate for various reasons, such as cavities, ulcers, and other periodontal diseases. Good dental health is essential for healthy living.
Oral care can be promoted by:
- Eating healthy
- Practising oral hygiene habits like brushing, flossing, etc.
- Regular dental check-ups
Seniors are more likely to suffer from dental health issues due to the natural ageing process.
What are the Effects of Ageing on Dental Health?
As the age of humans increases, oral health begins to deteriorate and it requires dental care for numerous dental diseases. Some dental problems that arise as a result of old age are:
- Dry mouth: The ageing process reduces saliva production in our mouth, resulting in dry mouth. Furthermore, many other reasons can lead to dry mouth in old age, such as cancer treatments via radiation, diseases like Sjögren’s syndrome, side effects of medicines, etc.
- Dark Teeth: This is caused due to the changes in the bone-like tissue called dentin that underlies the enamels of our teeth. The dentin is darkened by consuming food and beverages. This is also caused due to thinning of the outer layer of enamel that allows the yellowish dentin to be visible.
- Lower sense of taste: This can be caused by various reasons such as medicinal side effects, complicated dentures, nervous illness, etc. Old age, in general, is also responsible for a lower sense of taste.
- Loss of teeth: One of the significant causes of loss of teeth is periodontal disease in old age. It can also result from receding gums, deteriorated jawbone, etc.
- Decaying of the root of the teeth: This occurs due to the rotting of teeth by acids, causing decay. The origins of the tooth become visible as the gums deteriorate. The roots of the teeth do not have protective enamel and decay comparatively faster than the upper part of the teeth.
- Stomatitis: It is a generic term for a sore or inflamed mouth. This can cause fundamental problems like pain while eating, talking, or sleeping. In older age, poor dental hygiene or ill-fitting dentures can cause stomatitis.
- Oral Thrush: It is a condition that causes a white-coloured rash inside the mouth. This is also known as oral candidiasis because it is caused by the fungus Candida albicans. The overgrowth of this fungus could be due to certain diseases or side effects of medicinal drugs.
- Uneven Jawbone: This condition is caused due to misalignment of teeth. When a tooth falls and is not replaced, it can allow the other teeth to drift apart and shift into the open space of the lost teeth. This can potentially cause an uneven jawbone.
Essential Tips for Dental Care for Senior Citizens
Some dental care tips for senior citizens to ensure complete dental care are as follows:
- Brushing the teeth at least twice per day using a toothpaste that contains fluoride,
- Flossing the teeth at least once a day to remove the food stuck between the teeth,
- Rinsing the mouth thoroughly with an antiseptic mouthwash after brushing the teeth,
- Scheduling regular visits to the dental clinic for thorough cleaning and getting your teeth examined,
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles if you have sensitive teeth,
- If you are suffering from acute dental diseases which might require surgery, make sure you visit the dental surgeon at the earliest.
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Old age may cause several dental health issues such as cavities, caries, enamel problems, etc. Taking care of dental hygiene is very important to ensure your overall well-being. Ensure you follow the tips provided in the above section to care for your dental health.
What is the most common dental disease?
Tooth decay is the most common dental disease.
Can tooth decay lead to death?
If tooth decay is not cured in time, there is a chance that can spread to other parts of the body. This can cause fever, problems while eating, breathing difficulties, cardiovascular conditions, etc. In critical cases, it can also cause death.
Which tooth is connected to the heart?
The wisdom tooth is connected to the heart.
Can tooth infection remain for years?
Tooth infections won’t cure on their own. If the treatment of tooth infection is not undertaken timely, it can last for months or even years.
What happens if you swallow a rotten tooth?
If you swallow a rotten tooth, it can cause poisoning in the bloodstream in the long run. It is due to the rot that separates from the teeth and mixes with the blood.
What does a rotten tooth look like?
A rotten tooth has the following characteristics:
- Deteriorated enamels
- Brownish spots on the teeth
- Presence of dental cavities and dental caries
Can a dentist pull an infected tooth?
There are some situations like excessive swelling of the face or stretching of oral tissue when dentists wouldn’t recommend pulling out an infected or rotten tooth. However, the dentist extracts the tooth and cleans the ulcer in critical cases to cure the infection.
Why is a toothache worse at night?
When you sleep lying down, your body allows more blood to flow through your brain, which causes more pain in the tooth. This can be due to the pressure of increased blood flow on the infected tooth.
What is the fastest method to stop a toothache at home?
Some of the safe home remedies to stop toothache at home are:
- Applying a cold compress
- Rinsing with salt water
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
What are the four types of teeth?
The four types of teeth are: