Consequences of Dental Neglect and Age
There are many reasons why keeping a good dental routine gets harder as we age. Some of us simply lose the ability to brush and floss. Others lose dexterity in their hands because of arthritis or other debilitating conditions. Caring for dentures, let alone brushing and flossing existing teeth can become too much. But lurking in the shadows could be some profoundly serious consequences of dental neglect as we age.
Pain in your mouth is a common sign that something is wrong. As we age our teeth become less sensitive. Nerve cells get pushed back as dentin grows beneath the enamel. As we get older our gums also recede exposing more of your teeth, adding new areas that are difficult to keep clean.
If you no longer feel the same amount of pain, then you will be less likely to do something about it. Often, dental conditions normally kept in check are allowed to progress to more serious situations. After years of unintended neglect, the elderly are left venerable to a plethora of problems.
Compounding the issue is other chronic conditions. Diabetes if not under control, can worsen gum disease. And lingering dry mouth from medications can lead to tooth decay. This happens as saliva is no longer available in quantities needed to dilute and wash away bacteria. These situations are all too common to the elderly.
Make a Special Effort or Get Help
Unfortunately, tooth decay and gum disease can be much more serious when we are older. For example, sometimes an abscess or infection can form deep in tooth roots. Left unchecked, infections can travel to other parts of the body like the jaw. In rare cases infections that began in a tooth have spread to the brain causing death. Furthermore, if bacteria enter the bloodstream, it can infect other tissue including heart valves, invoking yet another potentially life-threatening situation.
In summary, we learned that although the consequences of dental neglect as we age are more serious, sometimes we can’t prevent it ourselves. Many of us simply lose the ability to maintain a regular dental regiment.
If this is your situation:
- be resolved to do what you can understanding that it’s important
- get help from caregivers or support workers with dental hygine
- visit your dentist regularly
- report pain of any kind to your dentist
Make an appointment today with Dr. Stephen Mathews at Erbsville Dental, Waterloo. Erbsville Dental is a clinic for the whole family, from pediatrics to geriatrics, Dr. Mathews is your dentist. Erbsville Dental is safe and open during the Ontario wide lockdown for COVID-19.
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.