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What Oral Health Problems Should I Look for As A Senior?

What Oral Health Problems Should I Look for As A Senior?

Posted on October 27th, 2023

Minneapolis dentist Dr. Maggie Thompson at Skyway Dental Clinic discusses the most common oral health concerns for seniors, what to be on the look out for, and what to do about it if it occurs.We all want to keep our mouths healthy, especially as we get older.  But what kind of issues could affect your oral health as you age? That is a question that many adult seniors may be asking themselves, and if you are one of them, Skyway Dental Clinic hope you find this information useful! 

Did you know that as we age, we go through another stage where we are susceptible to cavities? It is very similar to what it is like when we are kids. It’s true! One of the main causes of cavities in seniors is dry mouth, or Xerostomia. Many people believe that having dry mouth is a normal part of the aging process, but that is not entirely accurate. There are over five hundred medications, according to the ADA, that have side effects that include a dry mouth.  A few types of medications include, but are not limited to: 

  • Allergies
  • High Blood Pressure 
  • Pain
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Alzheimers 

If you happen to be experiencing dry mouth, call us whether you are an existing patient, or if you have never had a visit with us before, Skyway Dental Clinic are accepting new patients and would love to visit with you

Another issue that older adults deal with is gum disease. Plaque causes gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. The bacteria in plaque can make your gums swollen, irritated and can even cause them to bleed.  Many times, you may not even realize you are experiencing gum disease because it is painless until you reach the later stages of the disease. If left untreated, it can turn into advanced gum disease, which will destroy the bones and ligaments that support your teeth, loosening them, and causing them to fall out. We recommend to being proactive and see your dentist regularly. If you do that, you can avoid this painful disease entirely. And if you are already experiencing symptoms of gum disease, we can help by treating your mouth before the disease intensifies past the point of no return.

Osteoporosis and Oral Health 

It’s always a good idea to tell your dentist about any medications you may take so he or she may make the best treatment decisions. Some medications that can help strengthen your bones are called antiresorptive agents. These agents have been known to cause a rare condition known as Osteonecrosis of the jaw. This serious condition can cause severe damage to your jawbone. A few antiresorptive agent medications include but are not limited to:

  • Fosamax
  • Actonel
  • Didronel
  • Boniva

These medications are taken orally to treat osteoporosis and Paget’s disease of the bone, which is a disorder that includes abnormal bone destruction and regrowth, which can cause deformities. 

After taking the above medications, Osteonecrosis of the jaw can happen abruptly. Most often, this occurs after you have dental work done such as a tooth extraction. Procedures like this affect the bone or tissue, which is why it is important that your dentist is aware of all medications you are taking. They can take them into consideration before developing your dental plan. If you are someone who takes antiresorptive agents to treat or prevent osteoporosis, there’s no need to stay away from the dentist’s office out of fear because the chance of getting osteonecrosis of the jaw is small.

Getting older is never easy, and having to deal with things like cavities, dry mouth and gum disease does not make things any easier! We highly recommend you see your dentist regularly. Even if you haven’t had a regular dental appointment in a long time, that’s okay. We are always accepting new patients and would love to hear from you. We can help you and your mouth get back on track and you back to living your life!
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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