Dental Care For Seniors … Smile Secrets Can Help You. Dr. Chellis, in West Seattle, feels that good habits of effective daily brushing, diet, and use of fluoride will help the aging person adapt to changing conditions. Reduced salivary flow and the addition of medications will affect oral health dramatically.
Additional Information On Dental Care for Senior Adults
Denture problems: a new denture, or one that doesn’t fit well, can irritate your entire mouth.
Reduced salivary gland function: Dr. Chellis knows that this will cause the mouth to become dry, inviting oral discomfort, difficulty eating or swallowing, loss of taste, and a burning mouth. Salivary gland dysfunction sometimes comes with age. But there are saliva substitutes and rinses at Smile Secrets that we can prescribe to protect your oral tissues, and soothe burning sensations.
Medications: these often dry the mouth (side effects.)
Vitamin deficiency: there is some evidence linking burning mouth syndrome to Vitamin B deficiency.
Candida infections: this is a common oral fungus, usually apparent to the eye but sometimes undetectable. At Smile Secrets we can prescribe a topical anti-fungal agent that can help the problem.
Call us at 206.935.5522 for more information on how we can help you with burning mouth.
Even the best dentures can’t compete with natural teeth in ability to chew food efficiently and comfortably. As the years go by, the supporting ridges that remain after teeth have been removed gradually change and get smaller.
Dr. Chellis believes that for most patients, their dentures need to be “relined” or “refitted” every 2-4 years so that the denture will conform to the changing ridge. A large change in weight can also alter the shape of the mouth, causing changes in the fit.
If you have questions about your dentures, please call Smile Secrets at 206.935.5522 for answers.
Without the natural benefit of saliva to decrease bacterial action, Dr. Chellis is seeing an increase of cavities on the root surfaces of these patients.
Anyone on a medication causing a dry mouth effect should be encouraged to visit Smile Secrets for regular dental cleanings and topical fluoride rinses.
For more information regarding dental problems of the elderly, please call your Smile Secrets Team at 206.935.5522.
While such ignorance is rapidly becoming a thing of the past in Seattle, there is still not a general awareness of the seriousness of edentulism.
Multiple tooth loss is most commonly caused by periodontal disease, i.e. gum and bone disease. At Smile Secrets we know that periodontal disease has a high statistical correlation with chronic debilitating disease, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.
So it is not very surprising that studies now show a shortened life expectancy by as much as 10 years for persons who have lost their natural teeth, when compared to those who have kept their teeth.
In addition to longevity, quality-of-life differences are just as significant. The functional efficiency of dentures has been measured to be only 20% of that of natural teeth. Dr. Chellis questions if there can be any doubt that nutritional deficiencies will be much more prevalent in those without their natural teeth?
Loss of teeth often causes a feeling of loss of wholeness and a sense of deterioration and aging. Given these factors, we feel at Smile Secrets that preservation of the natural teeth is integral to whole-person wellness.
When the natural flow of saliva is reduced, you can experience trouble swallowing, pain throughout oral tissues and, nearly always, a short-cut to dental caries and gum disease. The tongue sticks, food doesn’t have much taste, and digestion suffers.
Dr. Chellis knows that Xerostomia, or dry mouth syndrome, can come with aging, or often as a side effect of many medications. Half of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy experience an extreme form of xerostomia, with critical effects on their dental health. At Smile Secrets we can help provide is relief in the form of prescriptions for dry mouth toothpaste, special saliva-producing chewing gum, or saliva substitute solutions.
For more information regarding Xerostomia and methods of treatment, please call your Smile Secrets Team at 206.935.5522.
Changes to the Teeth and Gums
Dr. Chellis has noted that teeth will darken because of long-term exposure to plaque and changes in the dentin within the tooth. The gums may recede and uncover the roots. Exposed roots will be darker than the enamel part of the tooth and are much more prone to decay. Fillings can decay and darken, too, as they weaken over time.
The build-up of plaque will accelerate tooth decay. There will also be more gum infection which will cause a loss of bone support for the teeth. Poorly-fitting or poorly-cleaned dentures, illness, and some medications increase the severity of the problem.
For more information regarding dental problems of the elderly, please call Smile Secrets in West Seattle at 206.935.5522 today.