The average age in United States in increasing. That is great news because adults are living longer. As people live longer, their teeth must function properly to help maintain good nutrition and provide support to the face for appearance and sound phonetics. Elderly adults often take different medications to promote good health. These medications have side effects that can affect the mouth. In addition to medications, chronic health conditions can be a risk factor for periodontal disease or premature tooth loss.
Osteoporosis, which a loss of bone density often affects elderly women. As bones become less dense and prone to fracture, it affects the teeth that should be supported. Teeth become loose without adequate bony support. There are antiresorptive medications that help reduce bone loss in osteoporosis. However, a side effect of these meds, is damage to the jawbone (osteonecrosis). Therefore, the therapeutic effect of medications for bony support must be carefully balanced. It is recommended to keep up with regular dental visits to identify any potential problems with the jawbone.
There are a number of antihypertensive medications that may cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is a risk factor for tooth decay/cavities. Tooth decay/cavities can affect elderly adults and cause pain. It is best to remain hydrated and use oral products like Biotene and Act if you or a family member experiences dry mouth from time to time. Biotene helps stimulate salivary flow and contains xylitol, an anticaries agent. Act contains fluoride, which helps remineralize enamel.
Another condition that can affect elderly adults, is Alzheimers. Alzheimers is a form of dementia that affects motor and cognitive ability. It is important for caregivers to assist with oral hygiene to prevent tooth problems or pain that may arise from inadequate oral care. Signs of inadequate oral care include swollen or bleeding gums, halitosis, or visible tartar.
If you or someone you know is experiencing dry mouth or tooth sensitivity, call us to schedule a comprehensive oral exam. At Museum Smiles Dentistry, we focus on your oral health and care about your overall wellness. Our office is conveniently located within a few minutes of downtown Fort Worth.