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Common Oral Health Problems in Seniors

The need for dental care increases as you get older. Plus, putting dental care on the back burner when you were younger starts to show as you age. Even those with excellent oral health in their youth are susceptible to problems down the line.

In order to prevent dental problems before they arise, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms. At Full Circle Dental Care, Dr. Samuel Sigmon, DDS and our team work with seniors to maintain lifelong healthy smiles. Today, we discuss oral health problems that commonly affect adults over 65.

Dry mouth

Having a dry mouth may not sound like a big concern, but it can be more problematic than you think. Dry mouth (xerostomia) occurs when your salivary glands underproduce saliva, creating dry, parched conditions in your mouth.

Saliva plays a key role in your oral health by protecting teeth from harmful bacteria. Without enough saliva, your risk of cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease increases. 

Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, health conditions, and cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. If you’ve noticed a dry or sticky feeling in your mouth that’s not easily fixed with a sip of water, give us a call.

Gum disease 

Approximately two out of every three Americans over 65 suffer from gum disease. Also known as periodontal disease, it’s a result of plaque and tartar build ups that irritate the gums, causing them to recede. 

As this occurs, the bone beneath your gums also weakens. Without a stable base, your teeth become loose and can eventually fall out without our intervention.

Making your oral health a priority is the best way to prevent periodontitis as you age. Regular dental cleanings give us the opportunity to clean away plaque and tartar that gets missed when you brush and floss at home, stopping the progression of gum disease. We can identify when you need more intensive care to stay ahead of age-related declines in dental health. 

Tooth decay

Tooth decay and cavities are as common in older adults as they are in young children, maybe even more so. Receding gums and dry mouth, with which seniors often struggle, create the perfect conditions for cavity-causing bacteria to proliferate.

If left untreated, tooth decay can eventually lead to tooth loss. Visiting Full Circle Dental Care for a twice-yearly exam gives us the chance to identify signs of tooth decay while stopping cavities in their tracks.

Oral cancer

The older you get, the more at risk you are for oral cancer. Factors such as tobacco and alcohol use can also increase your risk.

A lesion or sore in your mouth that’s slow to heal could be the first indication of oral cancer. Dr. Sigmon recommends twice-yearly oral cancer screenings in order to catch any signs of trouble before they can progress.

We keep your smile healthy at any age

At Full Circle Dental Care in Del City, Oklahoma, Dr. Sigmon and our team specialize in helping seniors maintain healthy teeth and gums. If any of these common oral health problems are a concern for you, give us a call at 405-677-0516 to make an appointment today.

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