If you have a parent or other loved one in assisted living, it’s tempting to think they no longer need a dentist for seniors. Depending on the situation, it might even seem like a hassle. However, regular dental checkups and cleaning are essential no matter your age. That especially goes for the elderly, who are more vulnerable than other groups. That said, here are three reasons seniors in assisted living should keep seeing a dentist.
It Catches Dental Issues Earlier
In old age, enamel starts wearing out, and gums begin to recede. Therefore, the risk of oral health issues for seniors’ teeth and gum tissue is high. Without outside help, these problems can grow and cause discomfort.
Fortunately, six-month dental checkups prevent this scenario. By letting dentists detect and treat oral conditions earlier, these meetings stop worse developments from occurring. For example, diagnostic imaging can detect tooth decay in its earliest stages.
It Preserves Overall Health
As it turns out, untreated oral issues affect more than just your mouth. Given time, they can spread to the digestive tract and even the brain. As such, something like gum disease can be life-threatening for seniors with weak immune systems.
Consider gingivitis. Patients with this condition are more likely to experience a stroke or heart attack. Plus, its harmful bacteria can travel to other organs through the bloodstream, causing more challenges.
To prevent these from happening, your loved one must see the dentist every six months.
It Replaces Missing Teeth
Over 27% of adults over 65 have no natural teeth. This fact is mostly due to gum disease, though decay and injury can also cause tooth loss. This lack of teeth makes it difficult for elderly patients to chew and speak clearly.
Routine dental visits allow these elders to replace missing teeth. Dentures often provide a cost-effective solution and can be paid for with Medicaid. Dental implants, meanwhile, nearly recreate natural teeth while still preventing bone loss in the jaw.
Even when someone in assisted living isn’t as active as before, that doesn’t mean they don’t need regular dental care. Talk to a dentist about options so your loved one can keep smiling into their golden years.
About the Practice
Dentistry at Hickory Flat is based in Canton, GA. As led by Drs. Brian and Katherine Lee, their team strives to help patients achieve excellent oral health. By taking a customized treatment approach, the staff can give clients beautiful and healthy smiles. Their services include high-quality preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry, not to mention emergency care. For more information or to book an appointment, you can reach them at their website or by phone at (770)-213-8166.