Oral Health for Seniors
Oral healthcare needs vary from person to person and even between age groups. That’s one reason our dental office in Douglasville believes that individualized dental care is the best approach to keeping our neighbors healthy. And while several common dental concerns remain consistent through every stage of life, there are some unique ailments that tend to specifically affect the senior population. Join us as we take a closer look at some of them.
Discolored Teeth – Many things from coffee to wine or cigarettes can cause tooth discoloration at any point throughout our lives. However, seniors in particular may notice a darkening or yellowing of teeth without any explanation at all. But the truth is this discoloration is typically a result of the outer white tooth enamel slowly wearing away and becoming thinner. When teeth become more transparent, we’re able to see more of the inside color of them, and it just so happens that the inner tooth isn’t as white as the outside. In fact, it’s often yellow or dark in color and what gives teeth a darker appearance.
Dry Mouth – Even though dry mouth can also affect anyone at any time and can be caused by a number of things, it does tend to be more common in seniors. One cause of dry mouth is medication. Prescription medication and even over-the-counter options often list dry mouth as a side effect. When these medications are taken regularly, saliva production slows down, the mouth becomes dry, and teeth put at risk for developing cavities. If these cavities aren’t treated, they could lead to the need for a root canal, sensitivity pain, or even tooth loss.
Tooth Loss – Many people believe that as we get older, we’re surely going to lose our teeth, or at least one or two of them. But this isn’t always true. It’s absolutely possible for people to keep their natural teeth for their entire lives, especially if they take proper care of them. This means brushing and flossing every day and seeing the dentist in Douglasville every six months. However, several things can increase the likelihood of tooth loss in seniors including a history of smoking, dry mouth, untreated decay, and gum disease.
Gum Disease – When bacteria isn’t removed from the mouth it can wiggle up under the gum line and become difficult to remove. If it’s not treated it may lead to infection and cause gum disease. Usually categorized by red, bleeding, inflamed gums, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and even affect the rest of the body. Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and according to recent studies, Alzheimer’s disease. It should be noted that researchers have not necessarily found a definite correlation between gum disease and Alzheimer’s, but one study found in Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy notes a strong link between diseases that cause increased inflammation, including gum disease, and Alzheimer’s.
While we can’t stop ourselves from aging, we can take preventive steps to protect our oral health and bodies. Make sure you always brush twice a day and floss once a day, no matter how old or young you may be, and be sure to get a professional dental cleaning and check up at least twice a year. If you’re overdue for your dental appointment, we welcome you to call our Douglasville dental office to schedule a visit with us today.
Migraine Awareness Month
June is recognized as National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month and serves to not only educate the population on this debilitating illness, but also to increase funding to advance migraine research and treatment options. While numerous causes can be to blame, our dental office in Douglasville wants to take a closer look at how migraines may be related to dentistry.
Over 39 million Americans are affected by migraines, including 18% of U.S. women, 6% of men, and 10% of children. Migraines are also rarely cured, but rather treated and managed through changes in lifestyle or medications. These treatment methods help help lessen the effects of the common migraine symptoms including, but not limited to:
- Throbbing or aching pain in the head
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Blurred vision
- Neck pain
These symptoms are often so severe that many sufferers can’t go to work or complete everyday responsibilities when experiencing a migraine.
How Migraines May Be Related to Dentistry
Many migraines can be triggered by an excess surge in serotonin release caused by stress, certain foods, or bright lights or loud noises. However, more research has been showing a positive correlation between migraines and a poor bite or habitual bruxism (tooth grinding or clenching).
Poor Bite & Migraines
A poor bite is diagnosed when the top and bottom jaws don’t align properly. When this happens, the jaw muscles, neck muscles, and even the muscles in the base of the head experience unnecessary pressure every single time the jaws come together. Since that action is done repeatedly every day, those muscles get tired easily and inhibit the normal blood flow. The result could very well be a migraine.
Bruxism & Migraines
Bruxism is a condition that causes people to constantly clench their teeth or grind them repeatedly, sometimes while they’re asleep and don’t even realize it’s happening. This repetitive stress on the jaw muscles can lead to headaches or migraines.
If you suffer from migraines or unexplainable headaches in the morning, you may have a poor bite or clench your teeth at night. But you don’t need to continue to live in pain or without answers. Start your search towards relief by calling our Douglasville dental office today. We can check for signs of bruxism and TMJ and recommend the best treatment options for you.