Because people live longer than in years past, dental concerns for aging people present unique challenges. Layton Lakes Dental offers treatment to elderly patients – those 65 years and older.
Among the conditions associated with aging are dry mouth, root and coronal caries, or decay on the root or tooth surface, and periodontitis. Patients may also have higher sensitivity to drugs used in dental work, including local anesthetics and pain relievers. Providers at Layton Lakes Dental are aware and prepared to address these conditions.
Regarding common dental issues prevalent among older people, there are factors that apply when you reach 60+ that are not common in younger years.
Cavities and root decay
Medications that frequently are taken by older people may contribute to tooth and root decay. One common cause of cavities in older adults is dry mouth. Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. But, it is a side-effect in more than 500 medications, including those high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases. Since medications for these conditions are more typically prescribed to older people who suffer from these ailments, dry mouth — thus, cavities — occur in your later years.
Treatment for dry mouth is varied and much can be done to allay problems:
- Oral moisturizers
- Drink more water
- Use sugar-free gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production
- Avoid foods and beverages that exacerbate dry mouth: coffee, alcohol, soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices
Gum disease, symptoms of which are swollen, red or bleeding gums, may be a precursor of more serious periodontitis. Because initial symptoms may not be obvious, attention to gum problems doesn’t occur until the problem is more advanced and more serious. If this condition is not treated, gums may pull away from the teeth, deep pockets may develop where food particles and more plaque may collect. Advanced gum disease can eventually destroy the gums, bone, and ligaments supporting the teeth, leading to tooth loss.
Fortunately, the dentists at Layton Lakes Dental are trained and equipped to treat senior patients and address dental problems that occur among the population of older people.