Dental issues are quite common in the elderly because their entire body is aging, including their teeth and gums. Even if part of your daily routine is to help your loved one brush her or his teeth, she is not immune to dental disease. For so many people, it’s a normal part of the aging process.
Underneath the enamel of a tooth is dentin, which is a tissue that resembles bone tissue. Over time, tooth enamel breaks down and many elderly people have brownish teeth. One reason is because dentin is yellowish in color rather than white. Another reason is that years of habits are coming to roost, such as smoking and drinking coffee and wine.
Many aging adults also suffer from dry mouth and problems that result from dry mouth. This can be caused by a natural reduction in saliva flow, medication, or medical treatments such as radiation. Dry mouth problems can make eating and even drinking difficult for your elderly family member, which compounds some of those issues further. If you notice your loved one’s mouth is always dry, talk with a dental expert to isolate the cause.
Lack of Taste
Very often aging adults lose their sense of taste, either completely or partially. Your elderly family member might find it difficult to enjoy food and she might even stop eating. Finding foods that she can appreciate can involve experimenting with spices and flavors that are new to both of you. Sometimes food that smells good is more appealing than food that tastes good, so keep that in mind as you experiment.
Gum Disease and Root Decay
Gum disease and root decay often go hand in hand, but they don’t have to. Gum disease is caused by an overgrowth of plaque resulting from any number of causes, including anemia, diseases such as cancer and diabetes, diet, and poor dental work. If the gum line recedes enough, the root is exposed and it will decay. Roots can also be exposed by broken teeth or excessive acid, such as drinking too much orange juice.
All of these issues can lead to tooth loss, which many elderly people suffer from. In some cases, depending on the overall health and age of your loved one, a dentist can save a tooth with a root canal or other dental procedure. If not, dental implants, bridges, or dentures are also an option. The dentist may also prescribe a high-fluoride toothpaste or fluoride supplements to increase tooth strength.
If your elderly family member is having trouble brushing her teeth, it’s easy to help. Elderly care providers can even show you what they’ve learned when it comes to easily helping an aging adult with her dental care.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING SELDERLY CARE IN RIVER FOREST, IL, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT BRIGHTSTAR CARE LA GRANGE. CALL TODAY: 708-551-2500.