01 Nov How Often Should Seniors Go to the Dentist?
Regular dental visits are essential at every life stage. In most cases, adults should go to the dentist twice a year. However, seniors are more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease and may need more frequent cleanings and exams.
How often seniors should go to the dentist depends on certain risk factors. Continue reading to learn why dental checkup appointments are so important for seniors, and how often you should be scheduling them.
Why Do Seniors Need Routine Dental Visits?
To Prevent Decay and Disease
We tend to become significantly more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease as we age. Your tooth enamel wears down over time, especially if you have poor oral hygiene habits or a diet high in sugary, acidic, and starchy foods and drinks.
Weakened enamel leaves your teeth more vulnerable to cavities, chipping, abscesses, and gum disease. Unfortunately, enamel cannot be restored naturally, so it’s essential to preserve it with regular dental care and professional cleanings.
To Combat the Effects of Dry Mouth
As they age, adults also become more susceptible to health conditions that affect their dental health. And many prescription medications used to treat these conditions often cause dry mouth as a side effect. Dry mouth increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease because your saliva can’t sufficiently wash away bacteria and food particles.
Frequent professional teeth cleanings from a dentist are necessary for protecting your teeth from dry mouth. If you suffer from this condition, it’s important to let your dentist know. They can give you tips on how to best minimize the effects and protect your teeth at home.
For Oral Cancer Screenings
Teeth cleanings aren’t the only reason seniors need professional dental care. Because the risk of cancer increases with age, the oral exam portion of a dental checkup is extremely important for seniors.
Dentists are often the first to notice signs of oral cancer and other serious dental conditions. Diagnosing and treating oral cancer in its early stages gives you the best possible chance of recovery.
How Often Should Seniors Go to the Dentist?
Seniors should visit the dentist at least twice a year (around every six months) for professional cleanings and exams. However, you may need to see the dentist every three months or even more frequently depending on certain risk factors.
If a medication or medical condition causes dry mouth, you will need more frequent cleanings to eliminate harmful bacteria. Smoking, poorly fitting dental appliances like dentures, and old worn out dental fillings all increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. If you have any of these risk factors, you will also need more frequent professional dental care.
Regular at-home dental care between dental appointments is just as vital for protecting your teeth. But seniors with arthritis may have difficulty properly brushing and flossing their teeth, leaving their mouths vulnerable to decay.
Seniors with mobility issues may need to have their teeth cleaned more often than twice a year. You can also speak with your dentist about the effectiveness of adding a water flosser to your dental hygiene routine to more effectively and comfortably protect your teeth.
Another reason you may need more frequent dental care is if you have already developed advanced stages of gum disease. The earliest stage of gum disease (gingivitis) can be reversed with teeth cleanings. But if gum disease progresses, you will need more frequent cleanings to keep the infection under control.
Preventive Dental Care for Seniors in Sun Lakes
Everyone’s dental health needs are different—how often seniors should go to the dentist varies based on the state of their dental health. Drs. Saba and Romanin can let you know the ideal frequency of dental visits for your needs. Dr. Saba and Associates have been helping seniors in the Sun Lakes community maintain beautiful smiles for over 30 years. Give us a call at 480-895-2111 today to schedule an appointment.