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Reasons Why Seniors Often Struggle With Oral Health

September 16, 2019 by christopher pupillo
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Senior health is often a delicate proposition that requires a lot of attention and care to manage appropriately. For example, many older adults suffer from a large concentration of oral health issues. These problems occur due to varying influences and factors that many seniors may struggle to avoid without proper dental treatment. Here are a few reasons why they might struggle with oral health.

Natural Wear and Tear

As the body ages, its many parts and elements naturally start to wear down and fail. This issue is no different for your teeth. In many seniors, teeth begin to wear down naturally or because of diseases like osteoporosis that rob the teeth of vital nutrients. As a result, many older adults are often more prone to periodontal diseases than younger people.

For example, the enamel on an older adult’s teeth may wear off the surface after years of damage and expose them to various types of bacteria and plaque. And small bits of worn and broken teeth may also pop out of the gums, further increasing dental damage. These issues are common in most seniors but grow worse if these individuals don’t take proper daily care of their teeth as they age.

Medication-Related Dry Mouth

Every day, many seniors take a routine of multiple medications to stay healthy. Unfortunately, a large number of these medications may trigger dry mouth. This condition is uncomfortable because it limits the level of saliva production in the mouth. Unfortunately, this condition may trigger a higher concentration of dental health issues as well.

That’s because without a proper level of saliva in the mouth, a senior is more likely to develop periodontal disease. The relationship between medication-related dry mouth and periodontal disease is particularly frustrating because most seniors can’t afford to stop taking their medications to protect their teeth. As a result, they may start losing more teeth as they age, which further opens them up to periodontal disease.

Diabetic Complications

A recent study by the Center for Disease Control found that about a quarter of all seniors over the age of 65 have some form of diabetes. Unfortunately, this condition can influence a multitude of health situations in a person’s body, particularly in the oral health of many seniors.

For example, diabetes causes increased blood vessel thickness, dry mouth, and other health issues that may worsen oral health. And since diabetes symptoms can get worse as a person ages, many seniors will experience an even higher risk of more serious periodontal diseases.

Financial Difficulties

As people age, their source of income often starts becoming smaller and as a result their debt grows. For example, a person may retire or get laid off late in life and struggle to make ends meet. Or their savings may be worth less than anticipated due to economic inflation. As a result, many seniors may struggle to justify paying for dental care.

And while many seniors will have Medicare and other age-related insurance options, these plans may not cover oral care. As a result, many seniors cannot afford to pay for their dental care and need a treatment provider who works with their financial needs with inexpensive treatment options.

Dental Fear

Lastly, many seniors develop a fear of the dentist as they age. This anxiety occurs for a variety of reasons. First of all, many seniors may be worried about the state of their dental health after not visiting a dentist for years. Others are simply afraid of treatment pain or dentists who don’t take keep more delicate state in mind during treatment.

If you want to work with a dental care professional who fully understands how to work with seniors, please contact us at Accent Dental today. Our professionals have years of experience working with a variety of individuals and will work hard to provide high-quality care that meets your needs. We can help give nearly pain-free treatment and even offer payment options for those without insurance.