Older people have their own peculiar teeth and gum problems that need extra care, says Dr. M. Dewan, Chairman, Dental Department, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
* Certain conditions peculiar to seniors include – dry mouth (xerostomia), tooth wear and excessive staining, dental decay (root surface), gum disease (periodontal disease), loss or alteration in taste, denture care, cracking and chapping of corners of their mouth.
* Older adults are prone to tooth decay because they are frequently on multiple medications that can dry the mouth.
* They usually have many areas of gum recession, which can expose the softer, easily decayed root surface.
* Missing teeth or large rough fillings may make cleaning teeth difficult.
* If having dentures, denture sores can occur. These may become infected.
* Be sure teeth are brushed properly, preferably just before going to bed.
* To prevent decay, high strength fluoride toothpaste is very useful.
* Dentures need to be relined occasionally every 3 to 5 years.