I help care for my elderly parents and I believe they have dental problems. What should I do?
More and more often, this is becoming a major concern, and it's one that Dr. Anderson has gone through himself. Seniors often feel that they need less care as they get older, but now more than ever, great emphasis needs to be given to prevention and regular visits.
Dentists all too often see advanced breakdown and dysfunction, leading to more complex treatment needs and expense. As we all get older, our saliva's consistency, flow, and chemical make-up often changes. Combined with syndromes, disease, and medications, we can see some extensive damage to the teeth and gums. Dexterity, diet, and dementia can also play a large role in a person's ability to practice good oral hygiene at home.
We see increased cavities, gum disease, infection, and lost teeth in this age group, and this results in less function, less enjoyment while eating, and diminished overall health. This is why, when we are younger and still pretty healthy, dentists tend to stress good oral hygiene techniques, a good diet that avoids both acid and sugar, and regular visits for cleanings and exams. Think of it as building up good habits and health now so that you can cash them in when you get older!
For seniors who live in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and other long-term care situations, it is very important to have talks about dental health with all the caregivers involved as well as with their primary care providers.
Regular preventive care is a great continuing investment for your present and your future health. Here at White Bear Smiles, we take special pride in our ability to serve seniors well!