Friday, October 10, 2014

Guidelines for Healthy Teeth in Later Years, from Mountain View CA Dentist Dr. Patrick McEvoy DDS

People used to worry about losing their teeth as they grew older. Thanks to dental technology and better understanding of proper oral hygiene, the American Dental Association says more and more elderly Americans are keeping their teeth longer than in the past. But care is still needed, especially among the older population, says Dr. Patrick F. McEvoy, DDS, an experienced dentist in Mountain View, CA.

Senior citizens need to pay closer attention to protecting their teeth and ensuring their oral health, explains Dr. McEvoy. Regular visits to their trusted dental advisor are essential at this stage in life, when tooth, gum and oral health problems are more prone to occur. In a recent article on the Huffington Post, writer Andrea Atkins outlines some of the common issues senior citizens face with their oral health:

“If your gums are swollen, red, or bleed easily, you’ve got gingivitis, an early form of gum disease that can progress and be dangerous. Untreated gingivitis often becomes periodontitis, which is when the gum pulls away from the tooth and creates pockets that can become infected. If this condition develops and continues unchecked, it could cause the loss of bones in your jaw and eventually, the loss of the teeth themselves.”

Older residents need regular checkups by their dentist. Dental care goes beyond teeth; the health of the gums and mouth tissue is also integral to oral strength and well-being. Regular visits to a dentist will allow them to check for the earliest signs of gum disease, periodontitis, cancers of the mouth, and loss of jaw bone density – and suggest a referral to the appropriate medical professional if needed. Your checkup will also include thorough cleaning and treatment, where necessary, of any emerging or potential problem areas.

Seniors often suffer from dry mouth. This is more than an inconvenience, says Mountain View, CA dentist Dr. McEvoy. This may seem like a minor inconvenience, but actually saliva contains calcium and phosphates that help protect teeth from weakness and decay. It’s not natural to suffer from dry mouth. It’s a condition most commonly caused by the side effects of medications. A dentist can recommend solutions ranging from a simple reminder, to drink more water, to recommending that the patient work with their medical advisor to explore alternative medication options.

Older people more frequently lose some or even all of their teeth.  A consultation with their dental professional will allow them to explore the available options – for example, whether dentures or dental implants would be the better option.

Older people who don’t see their dentist regularly, may not be aware of the tremendous advances in dental technology which are now helping dentists provide pain-free, fast and effective treatment for these and other problems. It’s worth encouraging your senior friends and relatives to talk to their dentist about the breakthroughs that will make their lives better and healthier.

(Source: The 6 Biggest Dental Problems For People Over 50, The Huffington Post, September 28, 2014)

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