importance of dental care in elderly people

The mouth is often referred to as a mirror to overall health, and hence reinforcing that oral health is an integral part of general health. Oral health directly affects your general health and the quality of life. Many studies show that dental disease is a common cause of medical and emergency visits to the doctors.

And yes, ageing is inevitable and a natural process. But with age, one should be more careful and vigilant about general and the dental health. The chronic illnesses and its medications in adults, such as diabetes, blood pressure or heart disease, put our seniors at an increased risk for dental problems. A lifetime of chewing, grinding, gnashing and general wear and tear combined with these medical conditions, medications plus a potential decrease in dental care results in many oral health problems in older adults. These issues may result in significant tooth pain, tooth loss, infected tooth, and root decay, inflamed gums, bleeding gums, gum infection or even oral cancer.

A good dental care in older age may help prevent common problems, like toothaches, gum disease, and tooth loss. Of course without healthy teeth, they cannot enjoy food or eat better. One should understand that it is very important to make dental health for seniors a priority and help them improve their oral health. The disorder in the oral health has contributed to poor eating habits in the elderly. Loose painful teeth, oral cavity, gum bleeding or ill-fitting dentures may result in a reduced desire or ability to eat.  A compromised nutritional status in turn can further deteriorate the oral health condition and are closely interrelated. The diet and nutrition should be considered as an integral part of the oral health assessment and management of the elderly. Dental status is considered to be an important contributing factor to health and adequate nutrition in elderly. You must schedule regular visits to a dentist for cleaning and check-ups as regular appointments can help prevent dental problems and keep teeth healthy. You should also be cautious about informing your dentist about medical conditions and medications you take.

Apart from all other dental issues in the elderly, let us focus on TOOTH LOSS in this article. It is often heard from the old age person in India, loss of one or two teeth or even more does not make much difference and they can easily chew using rest of the teeth. Lesser they know how much a missing tooth affects the overall dentition. Teeth start as a full set, and even one gap can impact your mouth’s delicate balance and lead to escalated dental issues. The missing tooth in your mouth may cause serious issues as listed below:

  • Teeth shifting or drifting from their proper position.
  • Crooked, crowded, or sideways sitting teeth.
  • Change in your bite.
  • Altered speech.
  • Excessive dental wear.
  • Change in facial structure.
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
  • Potential gum disease or tooth decay.

Implants, dentures and dental bridges are the best suited dental treatments for the missing tooth/teeth. The ideal tooth restoration technique may vary based on your dental condition, jaw bones, budget and overall health. After careful consideration of each factor, Dr. Ankur Jain (Implantologist) at White Smile Dental Care offers the advice about the best treatment for you and helps you decide which option best suits your needs.

Dr.Ankur Jain is an expert in several restorative options using the top dental technology whether it is to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or a full set. A small brief about these restorative techniques are mentioned below:

Removable partial denture:

Partial dentures can replace just a few teeth when you have some remaining natural ones in your mouth. Supposedly you’re missing three of your front upper teeth, but the rest are still intact. You can get a partial denture to fill in those gaps instead of having all your teeth extracted and going with full dentures, which replace an entire arch of teeth. And in addition to restoring those speaking and chewing functions, they can help to strengthen your jawbone as well as restore your tooth structure, protecting your mouth against future issues.

Dental bridge:

Dental bridges are permanent fixtures containing natural-looking teeth that are held in place by your adjoining teeth. You can go for the dental bridge if it involves minor modifications of teeth existing on either side of the empty socket. However, the teeth used to support the bridge need to be healthy and firmly implanted in equally healthy gums.

Dental implant:

Dr.Ankur Jain has extensive experience in dental implantology. Each of your teeth has two parts — the crown and the root. The crown consists of the hard substances visible in your mouth. Meanwhile, the root attaches the crown to your jaw. When you lose or damage a crown or root, implants can resolve the problem. Implants include a titanium post that is placed into your jaw bone. Then an abutment is added that provides structure and a crown that replicates the look of a natural tooth.

It would be pleasure to show you one of a very old age patient treated by Dr.Ankur Jain. He is Mr.Choudhary (age: 89 Yrs) and was very much scared of dentists. He was very much okay with the missing teeth but was facing chewing issues. When his health deteriorated, his daughter brought him to White Smile Dental Care.

Dr.Ankur Jain not only persuaded him for dental implants and partial denture but also made him so comfortable and aware of dental hygiene that now he comes for regular dental check-ups without any fear. He got three implants and a partial denture which has made his life easy and improved his health.

The major block in oral health care of elderly is the underestimation of the oral health care need by them and unawareness.  The dental care of the aged people is often limited to emergency situations and is not aimed at retaining teeth. So do not feel shy or scared of visiting your dentist and be aware of your dental health.

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