Dental care for seniors involves unique considerations. Seniors are more likely to suffer from a host of oral health issues resulting from the natural aging process. Prior to tooth loss, seniors may experience tooth sensitivity or discoloration due to a loss of enamel and dentin (hard, calcareous tissue beneath the enamel), or root deterioration caused by gum recession. Seniors are more prone to periodontal disease (gum disease) resulting from improper dental hygiene practices, poor diet, ill-fitting dental appliances and/or diseases such as cancer or diabetes. In fact, the supporting bone structure for the teeth, including the jaw, may shift, which can play havoc on a senior’s bite and may contribute to tooth decay.
Seniors are also more likely to suffer from inflammation of gum tissue, dry mouth syndrome (often caused by medications) or oral thrush (a fungal disease causing ulcers and whitish spots on membranes of the mouth due to its effect on the immune system). Close monitoring of teeth through the aging process is essential to a healthy mouth. New technology has made loss of teeth less acceptable and has set a goal for a lifetime spent with one’s own teeth.
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