Dental Care for Older People

Advice on preserving tooth and gum health as we age

The common perception of older people is that they will lose their teeth. This is often born out by stereotypes in comedy programmes of the ‘toothless granny’. There is however, in reality, no reason why an older person should not still have a full set of teeth if they have taken good care of them throughout their life. In many cases where many teeth have been lost, it is down to either neglect or poor education on diet and dental care.

There is no denying however, that as we get older, there are changes to our bodies and one which is commonly reported to our dentists at our Sutton Coldfield practice is that of receding gums. Whilst this can be a problem aesthetically, it can also mean that the teeth become more sensitive as more of the tooth is exposed. This problem can however at least be delayed by ensuring that both the teeth and gums are cleaned regularly and correctly, including dental flossing which helps to prevent the gum diseases such as gingivitis which will accelerate the process.

Another factor which may cause dental problems in older people is a dry mouth. This is not uncommon in older people and is often exaggerated by the taking of certain medicines. A lack of saliva allows the plaque to stick easily to the teeth making it more important than ever to clean the teeth well.

Of course, the longer we live, the more chances there are of us losing some of our teeth and there often comes a time when we have to make a decision on what to do about this. One line of thought says that because we are old, it doesn’t matter if we don’t have our teeth. However, this approach will cause several problems including loss of bone structure which will add to the ‘sunken cheek’ effect and make us appear even older than we actually are. Not having a good set of teeth will also mean that we are likely to restrict what we can eat and therefore not get the necessary nutrients to keep us in good health in our old age.

The most obvious solution to most are dentures and here at Arthur House Dental Care in Sutton Coldfield, we use the latest Valplast dentures to ensure a comfortable experience for our patients. Another option, and one that we feel will give the best results, is to have dental implants. Whilst the procedure may seem a little invasive as it involves placing a titanium screw into the jawbone upon which a crown is attached, the inconvenience is more than offset by the results which is an extremely strong and functional tooth which should last for at least 20 years or more.

These procedures and ensuring that you visit the dentist at regular intervals should hopefully ensure that you have a good set of teeth in your later years and allow you to smile with confidence to the very end.