Modern dentistry recommends that we strive to keep our natural teeth healthy for as long as possible for the best quality of life. With the advent of new technology in the dental field and improved standards of oral health in recent years, we are retaining our natural teeth longer than ever before.
This means that we must maintain consistent oral hygiene and schedule regular dental check ups throughout our lifetime. Dr. Melissa Elliott understands that our oral health needs change as we age and would like to discuss some special concerns for adult and senior patients.
Later in life, our gums may recede, exposing the root surfaces of our teeth. Gum recession can be caused by a number of factors, including trauma, periodontal disease, vigorous brushing, and genetic predisposition. Root exposure is problematic mainly because root surfaces are covered by a material called cementum, which is much softer than enamel and more susceptible to decay. In addition, certain antibiotics can limit the flow of saliva, which is protective against cavities.
For this reason, older patients must take special care to brush and floss daily and visit the dentist regularly to ensure that root cavities do not occur. For elderly patients with dentures, regular dental visits are also important, as a dentist can ensure a properly fitting denture and can also examine your mouth for signs of periodontal disease and oral cancer, with of which are highly treatable when caught early.
Cosmetic Dentistry for A Lasting Smile
We understand that aesthetics are also important to our older adult patients and we would like to address certain cosmetic procedures that may benefit us as we age.
Throughout our lives, our teeth may begin to darken due to staining or may abrade due to parafunctional habits. Teeth whitening and porcelain veneers are both options for older patients who desire to improve the look of their smiles!
In addition to brushing and flossing, a healthy diet and exercise is important for older adults in maintaining the healthiest mouth possible. Certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are connected to oral health; living a healthier lifestyle can lessen our risks for these diseases.
If you have any questions about specific oral health concerns for older patients, please don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Elliott during your next visit!