Oral Health Care – Rethinking The Approach As We Grow Older

Our later years can present new opportunities, and having a healthy mouth is key advises Dr Kothari

Whether we like it or not, the vast majority of us will grow old. When we are younger, we may not look forward to this time, and may even see it as a period of potential ill health and boredom.

Whilst this may be the case for some older people, many find that when they finally arrive there, their later years can present opportunities to try new things, or things that they didn’t have time for whilst they were working.

We may not want to go to all night raves, or ‘pogo’ to punk music, but tastes change, and some would argue that accepting these changes makes for a much happier later life. Whether you enjoy walking, reading, writing or even bird watching, these later years can offer great opportunities to enjoy life in a different way.

Oral health issues

There is no denying that, as people are living longer, they may well experience more illness and much of this can be managed through the use of medicines and therapies. Oral health is no different. Being older does present additional challenges to the teeth and gums, but, with good care, these can be managed, or, where teeth are too badly damaged, restored using one of the range of cosmetic procedures that we have available at the Foxhall Dental Practice in Ipswich.

Wear and tear through longer use, often resulting in chips and cracks in the teeth are more common. Gum disease too is a real challenge, especially as older people produce less saliva. If left untreated, having weaker, unstable teeth can detract from some of the enjoyment of our later years, especially as far as our food is concerned.

The challenges

Some older people can be less concerned about the appearance of their teeth, and consequently, may pay less attention to them, just cleaning them as they have done in the past. Although this is better than nothing, it pays to take even more care of the teeth during these later years. Doing so can help you to keep your natural teeth for much longer.

A good place to start is to arrange a consultation with one of our dental hygienists. They will be able to provide you with a new care plan to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible. We appreciate that old habits die hard, and will work with you to instigate a new oral care plan that works for you and helps to keep your teeth in the best condition possible. They will also provide you with a scale and polish that removes tartar from the teeth and gum line. This is essential to avoid gum problems such as periodontitis, which can result in the loss of teeth.

Whilst most patients will see a hygienist approximately every six months, we suggest that it might be advisable to do so more often as you get older, where regular scaling and polishing of the teeth is especially beneficial.

Restoring the appearance of your teeth

We mentioned earlier that some older people are less concerned about the way that their teeth look. It should be said that this is not true for everyone, and, with people living for longer and often having an active social life, there are a good number who want to keep their teeth looking nice for as long as possible.

Nearly all of our cosmetic procedures are suitable for older patients. From a straightforward teeth whitening procedure to the replacement of lost teeth with dental implants, there is no reason why older people should not benefit from recent advances in dentistry. If you would like to see how we can help you to have nicer looking teeth, please do get in touch.

Live your life

Older people have a lot to contribute to society. They have experienced things that younger people have not and that experience can be valuable at times. Although, in the West, older people have sometimes been more marginalised over the years, in other societies, their wisdom is appreciated. Younger people have a dynamism, but this can be much more effective with the aid of years of experience.

Providing that you have reasonable general health, later life can be great fun. Having healthy teeth and gums may only be a small part of this, but it is an important part. Unhealthy teeth can restrict your social life, either due to being self conscious about your teeth or because you struggle to eat certain foods. In some cases, this can contribute to depression and withdrawal, potentially causing isolation and unhappiness.

Life is there to be lived, right into later years. With the help of the Foxhall Dental Team, you can do this with the best oral health possible, helping you to live life to the fullest. If you are entering your later years and have perhaps neglected your teeth, or would simply like to see how we can improve them, why not give us a call at our Ipswich dental practice on 01473 258396 and start the ball rolling?

Dentist Chirag Kothari – GDC 228601