Essential Facts All Seniors Must Know For Improved Dental Health
What if we tell you that 3 in every 20 people (aged 64-75) have lost all their teeth? That’s a significant 15% of the population! Alarming, isn’t it? Well, this percentage gets even more concerning when we concentrate on more aged groups. Almost 25% of people aged above 75 are toothless. Just knowing these facts and studies is significant enough to make us aware of our dental care. Thus, we have comprised a list of vital dental care facts, especially for seniors, and some simple ways to avoid being in the percentage mentioned above.
Age is just a number – when comparing the dental health
When it comes to dental health, age is definitely just a number. Many people take it as a fact that ageing is the main culprit behind many tooth diseases, and the truth is, it is not. Or, it would be safe to say it is not a direct factor. More than age, it lies in your dental care and hygiene over those years.
This is why you might have come across many seniors with teeth strong enough to break a walnut in one go but some youngsters whose teeth tremble just at the thought of chewing. Two seniors of the same age may have completely different dental health based on additional exposure to acidic foods over their lifetime.
Age makes you less sensitive (to pain)
What do you need before curing a disease? You need to know the illness. But, even before that comes the realisation that something is wrong with the body. However, this is where it gets tricky with seniors’ dental diseases. With growing age, your teeth and gums become less sensitive to pain. When you do not have any pain, you are less likely to diagnose that your teeth need care, and the problem worsens. This is why experts recommend scheduling visits to the dental care clinic at least once every month for a routine checkup.
Going to a dentist saves you money on dental care
With dental care costs skyrocketing, who wouldn’t want to know how to save money on these expenses? Some people may decide to skip some regular checkups to save money. However, in the long run, this can be very contradictory.
Experts believe that to save money on teeth, you must first spend money on teeth. Spending money means visiting your dentist regularly for oral health checkups. In addition to these visits, you can also choose to do your own dental care at home. Regular checkups and self-care can help you save a lot of money on many expensive treatments in the long run.
Brushing twice a day (especially before bed), using fluoride toothpaste, drinking more water, flossing and mouthwash, and limiting acidic and sugary foods to a minimum are all examples of oral self-care that can make your life much easier.
Almost every adult has had a cavity once
Cavities are one of the most usual dental issues. Cavities are so common that nearly everyone (roughly 96 per cent) over 65 has had at least one in their life span. The more significant issue, however, is that almost 20% of these cavities go untreated. Some cavities go untreated because of a delay in diagnosing them, as cavities do not hurt until they are large enough to affect nerves or fracture a tooth. Other times, the lack of treatment is due to a failure to visit the dental clinic.
Untreated cavities can lead to severe complications over time, and tooth decay can enter the bloodstream and cause blood poisoning. Untreated tooth decay can not only cause cracking in the tooth of origin, but it can also cause brittleness and cracking in other nearby teeth.
Seniors are most susceptible to oral health problems, of course not directly due to their age, but due to many other factors such as pain insensitivity in teeth leading to delayed diagnosis and more exposure to acidic medicines over their lifetime.
We cannot stress enough the importance of visiting your dentist for regular checkups at this age. Delayed diagnosis and lack of care for simple tooth problems can lead to severe issues over time. You can improve your oral health by following some fundamental tips:
- Dental floss is a must every day. It is the only thing that can remove bacteria from the space between the teeth. If you don’t floss, you’re inviting bacteria into that area.
- If you smoke, you should hold back. According to studies, smokers are among the most vulnerable to oral health problems. When combined with the ageing process, it can be extremely worrying.
- Keep sweets and starches to a minimum. Limiting these foods can help you in two ways. It benefits both your overall health and your oral health. Starchy foods can cause bacteria to build up by sticking to the surface of your teeth. Sugary foods also do no good. They are among the best sources of creating acids by bacteria.
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What diseases cause dental problems?
- High Blood pressure
- Infections such as HIV or AIDS
- Long term Kidney problems
- Anaemia (lack of red blood cells)
- Osteoporosis (thinning of bones, generally due to age)
- Lung Diseases (Specifically, bronchitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
What is the most common dental disease?
Tooth decay, better known as dental cavities, is the most common dental disease. Cavities are so common that almost everyone has had or will have them at least once in their lifetime. It is caused when bacteria in the mouth produce acids by breaking down sugars in food, and the acid is strong enough to eat away the layers of our teeth, causing permanent damage.
What are the 5 most common dental problems?
- Tooth Decay – It is the breakdown of layers of teeth due to acid produced by bacteria in the mouth.
- Gum Disease – Swelling of gums, redness or bleeding in gums
- Bad Breath – Caused by dryness in the mouth, poor oral hygiene, medications, etc.
- Sensitive Teeth – Feeling Teeth sensations when exposed to slightly cold or hot foods and beverages. It is caused by enamel wear and exposure to the dentin layer of the teeth.
- Cracked Teeth – Cracking or breaking of teeth due to injury or some disease.
Can tooth decay lead to death?
Yes, in some instances, a tooth infection, if left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body, resulting in severe fatal complications.
Why does tooth pain come and go?
Stuck food in the teeth can cause this type of pain, and it can also be caused due to tooth decay, which results in tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks. If the pain is in the back of your mouth, it might be due to the growth of wisdom teeth.
Can a tooth nerve heal itself?
A dentist may be able to reverse minor damage to the tooth nerve; however, it is challenging for the tooth nerve to heal itself even if the injury is minor.
What happens if you swallow a rotten tooth?
There is a tiny chance that swallowing a rotten tooth will cause internal damage. However, letting the teeth rot in the mouth is undoubtedly advised against as it can lead to blood poisoning. If you find any symptoms, such as pain in the neck or chest, fever, etc., consult a doctor immediately.