The CDC reports that older Americans struggle with their teeth after retirement because Medicare does not cover routine care.
After losing their benefits from work, the high costs relative to their fixed income can discourage them from seeking treatment. As a result, elderly dental problems are so bad that 96% of adults over 65 likely have a cavity.
Do you know someone in a similar situation? Are you struggling to identify problems early enough to avoid huge medical bills? Finish reading this article to discover five common dental problems and how you can address them today!
1: Dry Mouth
A lack of saliva flow can occur for many reasons. Most older Americans may experience this for the first time as a side effect of medication. Anyone who has undergone radiation treatment for cancer can also suffer from this.
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, causes dental problems because saliva works to neutralize acids and prevent tooth decay. This symptom is much more than a nuisance, but plenty of easy treatment options exist to keep this problem at bay.
2: Gum Disease
If gum disease progresses far enough, it can cause problems chewing and swallowing. Additionally, irritation, redness, and bleeding can make life extremely uncomfortable.
Simple dental care – daily brushing and flossing – can keep the worst from happening. However, if an older adult experiences discomfort because of their gums, an assessment and treatment plan from a dentist is crucial.
3: Tooth Decay
This category of oral health can include painful cavities, especially if they wind up becoming infected. For young and old adults alike, this often happens because of a build-up of tartar or plaque.
Keeping sugary foods away and not snacking between meals can help significantly. Beyond brushing teeth twice a day, drinking water after each meal can also help fight tooth decay.
4: Oral Cancer
Like most cancers, the risk grows as people age, and it’s a serious concern regarding oral care for seniors. If a senior in your life has recurring sores or ulcers, that can be a serious warning sign.
Family dentistry offices have simple and cost-effective ways of screening for this health issue. Early discovery can save lives, and it’s an essential task for dental care for the elderly.
5: Tooth Loss
Losing teeth for the elderly can occur due to one or more of the issues listed in the sections above. Other factors that can introduce this health problem can include:
- Inadequate oral hygiene
- Tobacco use
- Teeth grinding
- Crooked teeth
Seeing a dentist regularly, at least once every six months, goes a long way to retaining teeth. Working with a doctor on a treatment plan can help prevent this costly and painful problem for the elderly.
More About Elderly Dental Problems
While this list represents an excellent start to understanding elderly dental problems, there’s always more to learn! Google searches can only get you so far, however. Finding any way to get your loved one or yourself to a doctor for suspected problems should take top priority.
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