Dentists in Smithfield NC as well as the rest of the country are finding that geriatric teeth are not able to stand up to normal wear and tear in the same way as younger generations. There are numerous reasons why older adults may be more vulnerable to dental cavities than younger adults:
Inadequate Fluoride — Community water fluoridation wasn’t widely available when the older generation was growing up, and most are now drinking bottled water, seniors may have lived a lifetime without enough fluoride to keep the teeth strong and fight cavities.
Arthritis — Medical conditions that limit your mobility can make gripping a toothbrush or floss incredibly difficult. As a result, daily oral hygiene efforts may suffer and the risk for dental problems can increase.
Gum Disease — Receding gums and exposed tooth roots makes the teeth more vulnerable to decay. The risk for root decay is on the increase in the older community.
Dry Mouth – Many of the medications and health problems that are associated with seniors are known to contribute to dry mouth. Saliva plays a significant role in washing away food particles and neutralizing the acids that promote tooth decay. In a dry mouth, the teeth become more susceptible to decay.
Diet – It is normal for dietary habits to change with age. Seniors who lean towards softer foods may be missing out on the nutrients that are needed for healthy teeth. In fact, soft foods tend to be heavier in carbohydrates and sugar which increases the risk for dental cavities.
Assisted Living – Despite the best intentions, the staff at assisted living centers often struggle to help their residents to maintain proper oral hygiene on a daily basis. Under these circumstances, preventable dental problems like gum disease, dry mouth, and cavities are more likely to occur.