07 Feb The Importance of Dental Checkups for Seniors
Tooth loss is not a natural part of aging. Regular visits to your dentist allow for dental diseases to be detected and treated in their early stages, so you don’t have to suffer from complications like losing your teeth. As you age, maintaining good oral health becomes increasingly important, and regular exams can help you do just that. In this post, we’ll explore the importance of dental checkups and preventive dental care for seniors.
Six Reasons Why Dental Care Is So Important for Seniors
1: To Prevent Dental Diseases
Regular dental exams and cleanings are key in lowering the risk of cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems for adults of all ages. Only a professional cleaning can thoroughly eliminate plaque and tartar buildup. Plus, routine visits allow for the early detection and treatment of dental diseases before they can do any permanent damage.
However, preventive dental care is especially important for seniors. Older adults are often more vulnerable to dental issues due to certain health conditions, medications, and changes in oral hygiene habits. Depending on their risk factors, some seniors may need to see a dentist more frequently than twice a year. But no matter how old you are, it’s crucial that you make dental appointments a priority.
2: To Address Dry Mouth
Many seniors experience dry mouth, as it can be a side effect of many common medications and medical treatments. Not only is this condition uncomfortable, it also increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Without enough saliva to remove bacteria naturally, plaque can rapidly accumulate and attack the teeth and gums. Dental checkups provide an opportunity to discuss your symptoms and find effective solutions to protect your oral health.
3: To Stop the Progress of Gum Disease
Bacteria buildup causes gum inflammation, raising the risk of periodontal (gum) disease. This serious gum infection is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, and around 68% of people over the age of 65 have gum disease. The sooner it is treated, the better your chances of saving your teeth.
Because advanced gum disease is irreversible, early intervention is critical. Depending on the stage of gum disease, a simple cleaning, a deep cleaning—or in extreme cases, tissue grafting surgery—may be required to stop the progress of the infection.
4: To Prevent Tooth Loss
Gum disease isn’t the only cause of tooth loss. Untreated cavities (dental decay) can lead to infections that eventually cause the tooth to fall out. Years of smoking also put you at a higher risk of losing your teeth. Regular checkups are necessary to identify and address dental problems before they escalate. Diagnosing decay early and restoring damaged teeth with fillings, crowns, root canal treatment, or other treatments can preserve your natural smile.
5: For Denture Maintenance
For seniors with dentures, regular dental checkups are essential to ensure proper fit and function. Dentures may grow less comfortable over time due to changes in bone structure or general wear and tear. Ill-fitting dentures can cause pain as well as mouth sores, so it’s important to get them checked out on a regular basis. Your dentist can make adjustments, address any discomfort, and provide guidance on proper at-home care to extend the life of your dentures.
6: For Oral Cancer Screenings
As you age, your risk of oral cancer also goes up. According to the American Cancer Society, most people are over the age of 55 when they get diagnosed. Luckily, routine dental checkups include thorough screenings for early detection of mouth and throat cancers. Identifying the symptoms early on allows for prompt intervention, significantly improving the chances of making a successful recovery.
Schedule a Dental Checkup in Sun Lakes
Keeping up with your dental checkups can help you enjoy a better quality of life as you grow older. At Dr. Saba and Associates, we provide comprehensive preventive dental care for seniors in the Sun Lakes community. If you’re due for a dental checkup, make an appointment today—we’d be happy to meet you!