Age in and of itself is not a dominant or sole factor in determining Oral Health. However, certain medical conditions, such as arthritis in the hands and fingers, may make brushing or flossing teeth difficult to impossible to perform.
Medication can also affect oral health and may make a change in your dental treatment necessary.
Advancing age puts many seniors at risk for a number of Oral Health problems, such as:
- Gum disease. Caused by plaque and made worse by food left in teeth, use of tobacco products, poor-fitting bridges and dentures, poor diets, and certain diseases, such as anemia, cancer, and diabetes, this is often a problem for older adults.
- Tooth loss . Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss.
Uneven jaw bone . This is caused by tooth and then not replacing missing teeth. This allows the rest of the teeth to drift and shift into open spaces
- Root decay . This is caused by exposure of the teeth roots to decay-causing acids. The tooth roots become exposed as gum tissue recedes from the tooth. Roots do not have any enamel to protect them and are more prone to decay than the crown part of the tooth.
- Dry mouth which is caused by reduced saliva flow, which can be a result of cancer treatments that use radiation to the head and neck area, as well as certain diseases, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, and medication side effects. Many medicines can cause dry mouth.
- Diminished sense of taste . While advancing age impairs the sense of taste, diseases, medications, and dentures can also contribute to this sensory loss.