Adults & Seniors FAQs
Q: How do hormones affect oral health?
A: Hormonal fluctuations throughout life can affect many tissues, including gum tissue.
Q: How can I minimize my risk for cavities?
A: The causes of tooth decay are the same for all ages. Decay happens when the bacteria in plaque feeds on the sugar in our diet.
Many older adults grew up without fluoride in the water, which means they are more likely to have decay around fillings. Decay of the tooth root is also common in older adults because when the gums recede this exposes the root surface which decays easier than harder tooth enamel.
Preventative maintenance helps keep teeth healthier. This important health activity includes:
Q: How do I take care of my dentures?
A: If you are starting to lose, or are missing, some of your natural teeth, you may want to think about adding to your smile with dentures. Dentures help with not only your appearance, but also by supporting your cheeks and lips. Dentures also aid in speaking, chewing and swallowing.
If you already have dentures you should know that taking care of your dentures is vital to your overall oral health. Keep them in good condition by:
It is important to visit your dentist regularly, even if you no longer have your natural teeth. Your dentist will examine your mouth to check for any difficulties including problems with the tongue, the joints of the jaws, and screen you for disease.
Q: As a caregiver how can I help my aging parent with their oral health?
A: Daily mouth care improves the overall health of seniors. This regular health activity helps to decrease dental disease. This assists in reducing the risk of serious health problems, such as aspiration pneumonia and cardiovascular disease, and may assist with controlling diabetes. Seniors facing challenges with physical and cognitive deterioration may require support with basic daily care. If you have an aging parent or are a caregiver consider the following:
Q: Does our mouth change as we get older?
A: Just as aging changes different systems within the body, the oral cavity also undergoes a number of changes.
It is possible that you may experience certain medical conditions and differences:
Loss of taste
Losing your sense of taste is common with age. Contributing factors to a decrease in sense of taste could be diseases, medications and possibly dentures.
When the saliva glands do not work properly, dry mouth may develop. Saliva is essential to good dental health as it keeps your mouth moist, washes away food and neutralizes the acids produced by plaque. Dry mouth can damage your teeth and make it difficult to eat, swallow, taste and even speak. Talk to your dentist about methods to restore moisture.