As our age keeps climbing, in between all the issues of physical health and their treatment, there is a general tendency to neglect the oral and dental health among people. However, having a sound dental plan as you grow old is one of the best services you can do for yourself. Decay and gingivitis are very common problems and they occur more frequently as we grow older. What is worse is that, if gingivitis is left untreated, it transforms into periodontitis which causes loss of bones and osteoporosis. This will in time lead to complete loss of teeth.
Unless you take a few steps to prevent it, of course.
What changes in your dental system as you age?
A very common belief is that as you grow old, you will lose all your teeth. That is a gross misconception. If you take care of your teeth properly, they are meant to last a lifetime. Your mouth however changes as you age, and the nerves in your teeth become less sensitive to cavities or other dental issues. Saliva, which also keeps teeth decay at bay is produced less and less as you age, leading to more dental issues when you grow older. Thus in general, your oal health tends to deteriorate as you age, but you can always take care of it and prevent losing them altogether.
- Side effects- as many as 1800 prescribed medicines cause dry mouth as a side effect. A dry mouth will in general cause more dental issues. A good solution is to always carry regular sugarless mints and chew them sometimes to simulate saliva secretion.
- Traveling to the dentist- as you keep aging, traveling to doctors appointments cannot be easy, especially if you are unable to travel on your own or find easy means of transportation. These however are mostly excuses, you should be taking your dental check ups as seriously as those by your general physician.
- Expenses- You should be starting to think about your dental insurance as seriously as your Mediclaim and other health insurances. If you haven’t invested in your dental care for your later years though, you can always avail a special discounted plan for senior citizens. Remember dental plans are a necessity, and prioritise it accordingly.
What else can you do?
Cut down on sugar and processed food- It is not just bad for your health, it is downright horrible for your teeth. Limit your snacks and remove sweets from your diet altogether. Never touch sweetened juices, try to stick to water and go for fresh fruits instead of packages sodas and juice boxes.
Regular dental check-ups- there is no alternatives to this one. Don’t wait for your teeth to start hurting really badly to go to the doctor- because as discussed earlier, with age your teeth loses its nerves and becomes less sensitive. Therefore, getting dental checkups are mandatory to avoid long term dental issues.