Dental visits may be intimidating for people who associate them with pain and discomfort. Dental fear may arise from misinformation or misconceptions about going to the dentist. With technological advances in oral healthcare, dental treatments are no longer the daunting experiences of yesteryear.
Dental healthcare is essential at any age. Just as the eyes are windows to our souls, the mouth is a window to our body. Our mouth and teeth are in constant contact with food particles and bacteria, which makes us susceptible to tooth decay and gum diseases. Plaque, a sticky layer of bacteria which accumulates on gums, teeth and tongue, causes gum disease and cavities. Therefore, it is important to get rid of plaque and food debris thoroughly through daily brushing and flossing. Flossing is essential to clean the areas that the toothbrush cannot reach. As we age, osteoporosis can occur if the bones are not building up enough to counter bone loss. This also applies to our teeth. Tooth enamel is built from calcium and phosphate, two minerals that occur naturally in saliva. Adults in their midlife and the elderly should strengthen and protect their teeth as the saliva’s ability to protect the teeth gradually becomes weaker or non-existent. Weak teeth damaged by mouth acids or plagued by gum diseases are fragile, and the pressure of biting and chewing can result in enamel chipping off. It is important to be aware of how ageing can impact oral health. Some oral health changes in the elderly include: teeth appearing darker resulting from years of eating stain-causing foods, loss of taste to some degree, wear and fine cracks on the teeth, and dry mouth. Dry mouth arises from a reduction in saliva production which reduces the protection for the teeth, and contributes to gum diseases and tooth decay. Medications, illnesses such as cold and flu, and frequent coughing can lead to dry mouth and increases the chances of gingivitis (swollen, red, bleeding gum) and cavities. Root decay is also common among seniors as many have receded gums which expose the softer root surface, making it easier to get cavities. Dental visits may be intimidating for people who associate them with pain and discomfort. Dental fear may arise from misinformation or misconceptions about going to the dentist. With technological advances in oral healthcare, dental treatments are no longer the daunting experiences of yesteryear.
Poor dental health could give rise to gum diseases and impacts overall health such as increasing the risk for diabetes, heart, and respiratory diseases. Maintaining good oral health habits plays a critical role in dental health. It takes only a few simple steps, for instance, rinsing with mouthwash, flossing and brushing your teeth and gums thoroughly but gently, cleaning your tongue with a tongue cleaner, rinsing with water, adhering to healthy dietary habits, exercising, and having regular check-ups with your dentist. If you have any doubts or concerns about your dental health, ask your close friends, family members, or healthcare professionals for dentistry recommendations, and seek a professional consultation for a diagnosis.
Empower yourself with a beautiful smile.
Text: Sharon Ong
ADA American Dental Association website
Retrieved from http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/adults-40-60 on 20 July 2016.
Holistic Dental Care: The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums
Nadine Artemis Call No.: 617.601 ART -[HEA] All rights reserved. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books, 2013.
Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye: A Do-It-Yourself Mouth Care System for Healthy, Clean Gums and Teeth
Ellie Phillips Call No.: 617.601 PHI -[HEA] All rights reserved. Austin, TX: Greenleaf, 2010.
Taking a Giant Bite Out of Dental Confusion: The Consumer’s Guide to 21st Century Dentistry
Richard S. Runkle Call No.: 617.6 RUN -[HEA] All rights reserved. [S.I.]: Luminary Media Group, 2008.
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