Each of us as a child most likely tried our best to skip out on brushing our teeth at least once, but as we age we become more aware of our health – dental health included. Dental care for geriatrics is a specialized field of dentistry because seniors are at risk of particular oral health problems and may often require specialized care.
Below is a list of some of the most common questions regarding dental care for geriatrics:
I don’t have a toothache, I feel fine. Why should I still regularly see a dentist?
As a person ages, their body’s ability to fend off disease weakens. As a result, common health concerns that arise can prove more troublesome to treat in the aged population. Oral health is linked to overall health. Infections that start in the gums can easily spread to the rest of the body and quickly become more serious.
A regular visit with the dental team can screen for early signs of potential conditions and provide early treatment to catch the problem before it worsens. Regular dental check-ups are quick, painless procedures that can save a lot of time and trouble in the long run.
Why do I need to worry more about my dental health now?
Dental care for geriatrics patients is especially important because there are a lot of circumstances that can contribute to a senior’s oral health issues. For example, a common side-effect of a lot of prescription medication is dry mouth. Dry mouth can lead to an increased risk of dental health issues such as cavities, tooth decay, and infection.
Another common concern for the elderly is the loss of bone density. Bone density naturally decreases with age and this affects dental health because it increases the likelihood of tooth loss. Tooth loss, in turn, can affect gum health and general discomfort when eating.
Additionally, maintaining proper dental hygiene can become increasingly difficult with age. Many conditions that affect muscular strength and coordination, such as arthritis, can make brushing teeth difficult. That is why it is important for seniors to ensure regular visits to the dental clinic that include regular cleanings.
I don’t have any teeth. Why should I see a dentist?
It is a common misconception that dentistry is only about the condition of the teeth. Dentistry is really about oral health as a whole – the gums, tongue, throat, and mouth. Even without teeth, regular dental visits can screen for potential health risks related to the gums, palate, tongue, and throat.
Another major issue when it comes to tooth loss and age is it can make eating difficult. Any pain or discomfort while eating can severely impact the nutrition your body is getting. With a weakened immune system with advanced age, it is even more important than ever to ensure a healthy and nutritious diet is being consumed.
Dentures are also a core reason people without teeth visit the dentist. Over time the tissues inside your mouth change and this can affect the fit of your dentures in your mouth, so it is important to maintain regular visits to the dentist to check on your gum health and adjust the fitting of your dentures.
My loved one/the person I care for has Dementia. Can they still receive dental services?
Dental care for geriatrics patients with dementia requires expertise and compassion. It can be overwhelming for a patient with dementia to visit a dental clinic because unfamiliar environments generally cause confusion and distress. Fortunately, there are many technological innovations that can aid in these circumstances. Dentistry can now be adapted to suit maneuverability, so it is possible to seek out a portable dental clinic that offers at-home visits to reduce the stress on the patient.
Dental care for geriatrics is no less important than dental care for any other population. If you have further questions about dental care, or you require an at-home dental service, contact Enable Dental for a solution.