A lot of emphases is placed on the health of your heart, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, mind, and many other areas (as it should be). However, there’s one area of the body that’s oftentimes overlooked — the mouth. Oral health is something all people of all ages should be focused on monitoring and improving.
One of the leading causes of cavities in older adults is dry mouth. Unfortunately, dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications (those for allergies, asthmas, blood pressure, cholesterol, depression, etc.). For those who experience dry mouth consider:
- Using mouthwash throughout the day
- Drinking water in regular intervals each and every day
- Chewing sugar-free gum or suck on mints/lozenges to generate saliva
- Avoiding coffee, alcohol, soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices
- Speaking with your physician about switching to a different medication or lowering the dosage
The reason gum disease is so common among older adults is that it has no painful side effects until the very late stages. Years of plaque buildup will cause irritation, swelling, bleeding, and receding of the gum line. If regular dentist visits and brushing are neglected, the gums, bones, and ligaments in your mouth will begin to deteriorate and can lead to tooth loss.
The average age for a person to be diagnosed with mouth, throat, and tongue cancer — age 62. On average, there are roughly 35,000 new diagnoses each year, but many go undiagnosed as the early stages are painless. Common symptoms include open sores, white patches, and unusual changes in the mouth that last more than two weeks. Regular dentist visits can help your chances of detecting oral cancer in its infancy.
As you age, you shouldn’t neglect your oral health — your mouth should actually receive more attention! For other useful tips and information, visit our blog! If you’re interested in learning more or visiting The Arbors Assisted Living community, schedule a tour by contacting one of our five convenient locations: