Surveys by the American Dental Association and Oral B® reveal that 7 in 10 respondents 65 years of age and older visit their dentist at least once a year and almost all said they believe that healthy teeth and gums are important. It’s great to know that seniors are concerned about their oral health, because dental needs change as we age.
Unfortunately, cavities are not just for kids. All throughout our lives, carbohydrate-containing foods team up with bacteria in the mouth to produce cavity-forming acids. Seniors often have receding gums that expose the sensitive roots of the teeth to cavities. These cavities should be filled as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the teeth. Seniors should try to brush teeth 2-3 times a day and floss at least once daily. To reduce the risk of cavities, it is recommended to use fluoride toothpaste and a mouth-rinse containing fluoride.
Periodontal disease or gum disease is the main reason people lose their teeth. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a bacterial film that continuously forms around the teeth. Although gum disease is often painless until it is very advanced, some signs of gum disease include: bleeding gums after eating or brushing your teeth, persistent bad breath; swollen gums; loose teeth; a change in the fit of partial dentures; or permanent tooth loss.
The effects of gum disease become cumulative as we age. And as much you participate in maintaining a healthy mouth, only your dentist or hygienist can clean the plaque and tartar under the gum line to help reduce the damage of gum disease. As with cavity prevention, daily brushing and flossing are essential. Regular dental cleanings and dental exams are important. Seniors with gum disease should see their dentist 3-4 times a year, regardless of your insurance coverage.
Seniors who have worn dentures for many years may find that they don’t seem to fit as well anymore. Loose dentures make it difficult to eat and speak (they seem to make a “clacking” noise), and do not support the face as well. This is going to be a result of bone recession. Your dentist can sometimes remedy the problem by relining the denture, but a new denture should be made every 5-7 years, or when the dentures cannot be used comfortably.
If we can be of help, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328
 Check on the tongue side of teeth and look for a receding gum line. Or has the gum that used to fill the gap between your teeth opened to the point that now there’s a dark void between your teeth. These are signs of your gum recession.
 In addition, you’re really not too old to have sealants painted on your teeth.
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