The Importance Of Good Dental Care In Our Later Years
Why looking after our teeth well now, can have a significant benefit for our quality of life in the years to come.
When we are young, we tend not to think of the health issues that might affect us as we get older. This is natural, and few parents would want their children to worry about various ailments that become more common with age.
Whilst preventative health measures such as stopping smoking and keeping fit are becoming increasingly popular, the same is not always true of our oral health care.
This is all too often a part of our daily routine which is done largely out of habit, with perhaps too little focus on its importance. This should not be the case though and looking after your teeth and gums now can make a big difference to your quality of life as you become older.
Gum disease and medical issues
The link between periodontal diseases and medical problems is increasingly being investigated. Possible links have been found between periodontitis and health issues such as strokes, heart disease, certain cancers and even Alzheimer’s disease. Whilst these illnesses can affect us at any age, most are more likely to occur in older people, and such risks may even increase in older age if we find it more difficult to take care of our teeth. However, here at the Synergy Clinic, we believe that poor oral health is not inevitable, and a good combination of home and professional dental care is a very effective way of managing this problem.
Quality of life
Certain things happen to us as we get older, for example, from a dental perspective, the chances of losing teeth is more likely. Some of this is simply down to the fact that we have lived longer and therefore our teeth have been subject to more ‘wear and tear’ than those of younger people. If we have looked after our teeth well though, and they have remained strong and healthy, much of this can be avoided. Minor damage such as chips and cracks to the teeth can be restored using cosmetic procedures such as bonding or dental veneers where necessary.
When tooth loss has occurred, this can add to the ageing appearance and, where the gap in the tooth is visible, most of us will want to replace it. Dentures are still a popular option but some wearers find them a little unstable and potentially embarrassing when they become loose during a meal or conversation. In addition to this, a varied diet is important, especially in old age and in order to help maintain good health. Loose dentures may lead to a more restrictive diet which could compromise this.
At the Synergy Clinic, we encourage our older Addlestone patients to at least consider having dental implants placed when they lose a tooth. There is no real age limit to having a dental implant, although you will need to be assessed to determine if you are a suitable candidate. The main benefit of this tooth replacement method for older patients is that they will be able to continue eating their favourite foods, helping to maintain their health as well as enabling them to enjoy what they are eating.
Looking after teeth in old age
As we get older, we sometimes suffer from problems such as muscle weakness or arthritis. This can make the daily task of cleaning our teeth more problematic. If our cleaning regimen becomes less effective, and, combined with the fact that saliva production reduces as we get older, it is not hard to see how the rate of dental problems can accelerate.
So, what can we do about this if we are find it difficult to brush, due to mobility issues for example?
One thing that you can do is to use an electric toothbrush. Although this does require some movement of the arm and hand, the rotating head will help to clean the teeth and gums. You may also find the use of a good quality mouthwash will help too. Make sure also, to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as staying hydrated is important for good oral health, however old we are. It also plays a significant role in keeping gum disease at bay.
Finally, whether you currently see a hygienist or not, we would recommend that you consider doing so at more frequent intervals. If your teeth cleaning has become less effective, this is a good way of helping to maint healthy teeth and gums for longer. Working together, we can help you to have functional natural teeth for as long as possible, helping you to enjoy your life to the fullest.
Whether young or old, regular dental care is essential. If you would like to see what we can offer you, please arrange an initial consultation with one of our Addlestone dental team, by calling us on 01932 856541.