Many people find themselves caring for an aging parent. Seeing to a parent's medical needs should include regular visits with a qualified dentist.
The elderly are susceptible to a wide range of oral health problems that could have a negative effect on comfort and quality of life. Be mindful of these important reasons why dental care for the elderly is essential.
1. Elderly patients are often on prescription medications.
Many elderly individuals have chronic health problems that are treated with prescription medications. One of the side effects associated with many medications is dry mouth. The saliva produced in the mouth plays an important role in helping to prevent bacteria from damaging the enamel of each tooth.
When medications cause dry mouth, an elderly patient can be more susceptible to cavities. These cavities can penetrate the enamel and allow bacteria to infiltrate the nerve, causing an infection. A dentist will be able to determine if dry mouth is a problem and help your aging parent overcome this side effect while continuing to take the lifesaving medications that he or she relies on each day.
2. Elderly patients are susceptible to tooth damage.
As the body begins to age, calcium levels can drop. This often leaves bones more brittle than they were in a person's youth. Since teeth are essentially exposed bones, reduced calcium levels brought on by aging can leave the teeth more susceptible to damage.
An elderly patient might experience cracked or broken teeth more often than a younger patient. Any dental work previously completed (crowns, bridges, etc.) can also start to come loose with age. An experienced dentist will be able to help your elderly parent care for his or her teeth by addressing any damage before it negatively affects your parent's overall health.
3. Elderly patients might need dentures.
Many elderly individuals must have their teeth removed due to disease or decay. A skilled dentist will be able to recognize the early warning signs of periodontal disease or gum disease and treat these conditions before they can affect the health of the heart or tissues within the mouth.
Removing the teeth and replacing them with dentures can be a viable option when it comes to improving the oral health of an elderly patient. Regular dental examinations will ensure your aging parent is able to receive dentures if and when they are needed to preserve the overall health of your parent.
For more information, contact dental offices like Dental Design SD.