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How Senior Dental Care Can Help Reduce Tooth Loss

How Senior Dental Care Can Help Reduce Tooth Loss

If you know someone with dentures, there is a good chance that they are over 65. Although tooth loss can happen to anyone, especially if the tooth loss is caused by trauma, it is most common among people over 65, with increased odds of tooth loss as people age further. Dental issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, oral cancer, and more are most common in seniors, however, that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to have these problems just because of your age. Proper senior dental care can help you keep your mouth healthy and can prevent tooth loss. Regular oral care at home and at the dental clinic contributes to improved oral health and increased chance of the retention of your natural teeth.

How Senior Dental Care Affects Tooth Loss

Gum Health
Your gums are an extremely important part of your oral health and tooth retention. When your gums become diseased, it can initially cause swelling, pain, and bleeding. This is called gingivitis and it is a mild form of periodontal disease. If gingivitis is not addressed, gum health will continue to deteriorate and your oral health can quickly decline. When gingivitis becomes more serious, it develops into periodontitis, which can cause the gums to recede from the teeth. As the gums recede and the bacteria in your mouth affect your gums, teeth, and jawbone, your teeth can fall out. Gum conditions that can lead to tooth loss can be caused by bacteria buildup, long-term tobacco use, diet, and even certain medications.

Tooth Health
Tooth loss isn’t only caused by gum disease. Poor tooth health can greatly contribute to tooth loss, either because the tooth falls out or because it needs to be pulled. If bacteria enters the centre of the tooth (called the pulp), it can cause the tooth to rot or become infected. This not only causes pain within the tooth, but it can also threaten your oral health and overall health. If a tooth infection spreads, it can be deadly. Even if a tooth infection or damage to the pulp stays localized, you will still need a root canal or a tooth extraction, depending on the extent of the damage. If the infection has reached the root of the tooth or has spread throughout most of the tooth, dentists are not always able to save the natural tooth. Tooth infections often occur through cavities, where bacteria eats away at the tooth and creates holes through the layers of the tooth, giving bacteria access to the pulp. Tooth infections and bacteria growth in the centre of the tooth can also occur through cracks in the teeth.

How To Prevent Tooth Loss
Although we become more susceptible to tooth loss as we age, there are steps we can take to keep our teeth and gums healthy. Other than brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day, another easy at-home form of dental care is drinking water. When you drink water, you help to clear bacteria out of your mouth so that it does not linger on the teeth. It’s best to drink water throughout the day, especially after eating or snacking. Another absolutely critical part of caring for your oral health is to receive dental cleanings every 6 months. Dental cleanings are an important part of your dental routine, as they remove plaque that you can’t get rid of by yourself, and it allows your dentist to examine your oral health and ensure no cavities are developing.

Proper oral health isn’t only important for keeping your teeth. Read Seniors: Why You Need To Make Dental Health A Priority to learn how senior dental care can benefit your overall health.
 

Keep Your Teeth For Longer With Senior Dental Care In Calgary

Tooth loss isn’t an inevitability. By keeping your gums and teeth healthy through regular oral care at home and twice-yearly visits to the dental clinic, you can keep your natural teeth and avoid the need for dentures. To receive in-clinic senior dental care and to speak to experienced dental professionals about how to improve your dental health, contact Marlborough Dental Centre at 1-403-248-2066 or fill out the online contact form. When you schedule an appointment with Marlborough Dental Centre, we will perform a dental cleaning and a dental exam and we can address any questions you may have to ensure dental health now and in the future.
 

FAQ

Q: What are healthy gums supposed to look like?
A: Your gums should be pink, firm, and free from pain. If you do not floss regularly, gums may bleed and swell. Flossing regularly will prevent gums from bleeding when flossing and will improve gum health.

Q: What are the benefits of good senior dental care?
A: Other than protecting your oral health and general health, good dental care also 

  • Maintains your ability to eat and speak comfortably
  • Improves your overall health, avoiding oral conditions that can trigger systemic disease
  • Increases your self-confidence with a beautiful, full, and healthy smile
  • Detects or prevents serious conditions early on, such as oral cancer
  • Enhances your facial muscle tone and appearance by maintaining the underlying structures like jaw and teeth

Q: Is it normal that my gums bleed when I’m flossing?
A: People new to flossing should expect their gums to bleed for the first few times. This is completely normal and should stop as long as you continue flossing. If your gums bleed even though you regularly floss or if they bleed while you brush your teeth, this can be a sign of gingivitis and you should visit your dentist.

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