Why its not inevitable that youll lose your teeth as you get older
Advancements in dental techniques and the increased focus on preventive dentistry means older adults are keeping their natural teeth longer than ever before.
A survey by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research showed that the rate of toothlessness in the 55 to 64 age group has dropped 60 percent since 1960.
Whatever your age, its important to practice good oral hygiene at home and to visit your dentist regularly. A few simple steps can help you maintain good oral health throughout your life.
Plaque, the sticky, colorless layer of bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease, can build up quickly on the teeth of older adults, particularly when they neglect oral hygiene. This can increase the risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease.
So its important to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners.
Regular dental checkups are also an important part of caring for your teeth.
This can help you save your teeth and gums and prevent other dental problems. It will save you time and money in the long-run as well.
What dentists are doing to improve services for older adults
As people are living longer and enjoying good health for many years, dentists are increasingly offering improved services to recognize the special needs of older adults.
This growing segment of the population is wearing fewer dentures and they are keeping their natural teeth longer. They are also concerned to maintain good health and a great smile for many years.
However, patients in this group sometimes require special consideration because reduced mobility and dexterity may make daily oral hygiene difficult.
And certain medical conditions and impairment may make them more anxious when visiting the dentist.
For example, problems with vision or hearing loss may cause worry. Always let the dentist and staff know if you have any concerns so that they can adjust their treatment and their pace to meet your needs.
Older patients can sometimes put up with problems such as toothaches, bleeding gums and clicking dentures because they are not aware of the wide range of treatments and techniques now available.
Dentists are increasingly sensitive to the special needs of and the importance of dental health in the older patient.
As many older patients are more health conscious than ever before, regular visits to the dentist ensure their oral health is an important part of their overall health.