Thursday, March 08, 2007

Special Dental Needs Of Seniors

Senior citizens are the fastest growing portion of many populations are keeping their teeth longer than prior generations and have special dental needs. As the population ages, dental needs of individuals over 65 becomes increasingly specialized. Each individual has different medical problems and takes different prescriptions which can adversely interact with drugs dentists may have to use to care for dental health including dental anesthetics. Dental patients, especially the elderly need to keep their dentist informed of any changes or updates in their medical history to help prevent potentially harmful drug interactions or teeth conditions.

Many medications can cause a decrease in the saliva flow which suppresses the normal buffering action of the saliva. The resulting dry mouth condition can lead to decay and tooth loss. Special mouth rinses can be prescribed to increase saliva flow and reduce plaque build up. Adult tooth loss is often a result of oral disease and not the aging process and most oral diseases can be prevented and largely reversed through careful oral hygiene and regular dental visits.

Regular dental visits are essential for senior citizens, even for the 44 percent of elderly adults who no longer have their teeth. To avoid diseases and maintain their natural teeth, seniors who do not have a regular dentist should select a dentist and schedule a consultation visit. Seniors planning to enter a nursing home should inquire about the dental consultant and their personal care giver. Family members should play an active role in encouraging the oral health of homebound seniors or in nursing homes by helping them schedule regular dental visits.



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