Dentistry in the Elderly: Planning For The Future – Part 2

A senior woman wearing a jacket and smiling

Read time: 2 mins

Check out part 1 here.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease – causing the silent dissolving of jaw bone and tooth loss

Did you know that almost 25% of adults aged 65 – 74 have periodontal (gum) disease? Research has shown this disease is associated with chronic health issues, such as diabetes mellitus, heart disease, stroke and respiratory disease. Periodontal disease (like most dental conditions) doesn’t typically ‘hurt’ until it is advanced. Treatment of periodontal disease typically involves the removal of plaque and calculus that initiate the dissolving of the jaw bone and tooth loss. We see that nearly 30% of older adults lose their teeth but the biggest misconception is that this loss of teeth is an inevitability. This fate can be avoided! While the mouth does change as we get older, this is not something that should deter you from maintaining oral care. Amongst the many things you have to be diligent with in your healthcare routine as you age, your oral health is one of the most important.

Poor nutrition choices → increased decay → increased tooth loss → limited to soft pureed foods☹

Eating sugary and acidic foods can contribute to cavities, gum disease and other oral health issues. The consumption of these foods sets up a vicious cycle that can lead to poor nutrition due to a degradation of the oral condition to a point where all you can eat is processed pureed, high sugar foods which perpetuate the cycle. It’s best to avoid hard sticky lollies and starchy foods as these carry the highest risk. Drink lots of water and eat foods from all the major food groups as a balanced diet is proven to provide a better quality of life. Once you get your mouth into a bad state, chewing will become painful and you won’t be able to taste much, so it’s better to prevent this by being responsible about nutrition as you age. In addition to this, as you age, the nerves in your teeth shrink, making your teeth less able to warn you about cavities that may be starting as well as other problems. This illustrates the importance of regular dental maintenance visits to diagnose any small problems before they become much larger, more difficult to manage and hence more expensive.

Changing habits are never easy for anyone but at Pennant Hills Dental Centre we can support you in making healthy choices that will not only be good for your teeth, but also good for the rest of your body. Call Pennant Hills Dental Centre on 02 9484 1132 or book online to reserve an appointment.


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