Archive for the ‘Xerostomia’ Category

Keeping Up with Oral Health as You Age

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

oral health as you age

May is National Older Americans Month. Despite the belief that many seniors lose their natural teeth as they age, about 75 percent of people 65 and older have retained all or some of their natural teeth.

With that being said, there’s no doubt that older adults face oral health problems. Sure, one might think that he or she need not be concerned about cavities anymore. But, just like with younger people, tooth decay can cause pain and discomfort as well as wear down the gums. In fact, cavities can occur more frequently in older adults for several reasons. Firstly, seniors may not have been exposed to a fluoridated water system as children or used toothpaste that contains fluoride in the past.

As gum tissue begins to recede in older adults, cavities become more prevalent, since plaque has more space to harbor between the teeth and gums. Also, dry mouth, a result of the natural aging process and certain medications, can lead to more tooth decay. Perhaps most relevantly, older adults are also more likely to have decay around older fillings.

“I wish all fillings and dental work would last forever, but dental work requires maintenance,” Dr. Bruce Terry, a member of the Pennsylvania Dental Association, told the Digital Journal. “Everyone should be seen by their dentist regularly to see if there are any broken teeth or fillings. The health of the gum tissues can also be an early sign of several systemic diseases like diabetes.”

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Dry Mouth

Monday, March 1st, 2010

dry mouth

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a problem that is more common in adults than children.  According to the American Dental Association, it can frequently be a symptom of a health condition or a side effect of a medication (i.e. decongestants, antihistamines, diuretics, and pain relievers). 

Sometimes dry mouth causes the following: a sore throat, burning sensation, hoarse voice, difficulty with speaking and/or swallowing, and nasal dryness.  Consequently, if chronic dry mouth is not remedied, it can lead to tooth decay and damage! This is because saliva is needed to prevent a dry oral cavity, neutralize acids and dispose of food/tartar build-up.  Plaque can create acids that cause damage to the teeth.   Furthermore, a dry mouth is usually accompanied by bad breath

If a person’s mouth is excessively dry, it can negatively affect the oral tissues, sometimes causing inflammation and a higher risk of getting an infection.  If you suspect you have chronic dry mouth, consult your dentist for a checkup and look for treatments. 

Source: MSN

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