Oral Health Considerations For Older Patients
May is Older Americans Month, and we want to celebrate our wiser and more experienced patients by discussing some key points for oral health in people who are 65 years or older.
Why Do Older Patients Have Unique Dental Needs?
Aside from possibly having crowns, bridges and dentures, men and women who are over 65 face unique challenges in dental care. Here are some highlights:
- Older patients may experience cognitive, physical and sensory limitations that diminish their ability to properly brush and floss their teeth.
- The population of patients that are over 5 is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.
- Specific oral health conditions occur most often in older patients, such as dry mouth, periodontitis and caries.
- Educating and communicating with elderly patients may be more difficult compared to younger patients.
- Older patients may experience a type of oral health burnout.
- People over age 65 tend to have medical conditions and use prescription medications with various side effects that interfere with at-home dental care or increase the risk for certain types of oral health issues.
The Effects of Dry Mouth Older Patients
Aging and other factors are known to cause dry mouth in patients who are 65 and older. Not having enough saliva in the mouth to remove food particles, bacteria, tartar and plaque leads to complications, such as cavities, receding gums, root caries, lesions and tooth loss. The risk increases with age, and roughly half of men and women over 75 have root caries that affect the bone, gums and teeth.
Considerations for Dental Treatments in Patients Over 65
Dentists and hygienists should be aware of how aging affects routine dental care and appointments. Hearing and vision problems can leave a patient feeling vulnerable. Communication must be clear, and active listening is key. If you care for someone who is in this age bracket, we recommend that you attend the appointments to ensure that issues are understood. At home you can monitor brushing and flossing to identify ways to improve the technique. Speak with your dental hygienist about ways to make these tasks as easy as possible for older patients.
Learn More About Dental Care for Older Patients. Contact Montefiore Dental.
To learn more about routine dental care for patients over 65, as well as wisdom teeth removal, orthodontics and our other services, contact Montefiore Dental to schedule an appointment. You can contact Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, at (888) 700-6623.