Aging Health and Oral Care
Ageing is a natural process and a normal, inevitable biological phenomenon. According to WHO, 7.6% of the Indian population is older than 60, which amounts to 76 million individuals.
Oral health might not be separate from general health but maintaining it is definitely difficult as the age progresses. Geriatric diseases or pathological ageing have a negative effect on the oral health of an individual. Your gums recede and your teeth may become a little more sensitive as you grow older. Problems like dry mouth and periodontal diseases become common and since oral health directly impacts the overall health, taking care of the teeth and gums becomes even more important.
If you are on regular medication, your mouth starts to become dry. A dry mouth produces less saliva, and since saliva helps protect your teeth against decay, its production in the right quantity becomes necessary for your oral health. A small amount of saliva will also leave the mouth more susceptible to root area cavities.
There are many ways to treat dry mouth. Some of them are:
⇒ Increasing liquid intake
⇒ Avoiding dry and salty food
⇒ Rinsing mouth frequently with water
⇒ Using specially formulated toothpaste or mouthwashes
Gum or Periodontal diseases are common in elderly individuals. Caused by bacteria present in plaque, which irritates the gums and leaves it bleeding. Gum diseases are often painless until the advanced stage and thus grow unnoticed. Advanced gum diseases can destroy the gums, bone and ligaments supporting the teeth and leave you toothless. Diabetic patients are at higher risk for periodontal diseases due to their proneness to infection. The only way to avoid periodontal diseases is good oral hygiene and as your age progresses, make sure to ask your dentist for the special care you need to take to maintain your oral health.
Diseases with Oral Symptoms:
Recent studies show a correlation between gum diseases and heart diseases. If a patient has severe gum disease, they may be advised to take antibiotics before any surgical procedure is considered. Doctors, as well as dentists, take appropriate measures in taking care of elderly patients and often encourage the well being of the individual from head to toe.
Oral cancer is known in older people which includes observable symptoms like open sores, white or reddish patches, and changes in the lip, tongue and lining of the mouth that lasts for more than two weeks. A regular visit to the dentist is important as your dentist will check for any signs of oral cancer as in the early stages oral cancer does not cause any pain an early detection can save your life.
With changing times and dynamic changes in health as age progresses, it is important that regular dental check-ups are steps taken to prevent any deterioration in health impacted by lack of oral health or hygiene.