Looking After Teeth In Old Age
By Dr Tonya Kirk
When suggesting an advanced dental treatment such as crowns, bridges or implants to patients in their 70s or even 60s, I am often met with the response that “it hardly seems worth it– my teeth do not need to last much longer.”
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Life expectancy in Australia has improved dramatically. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the average life expectancy in this country is now 82 years.
With increased life expectancy, the challenge for healthcare professionals is to ensure that these golden years are spent in a comfortable and enjoyable way.
This includes having the freedom to eat anything we want to eat, for as long as possible. This is important, both as a social and enjoyable pastime, but also to ensure adequate nutrition to keep our bodies healthy and strong for as long as possible.
With increased age, many people take prescription medications which can sometimes cause a decrease in salivary flow. Saliva is important in keeping gums and teeth healthy, by reducing the levels of acid in your mouth which can cause decay.
Also as we age, so do the fillings and other restorations that were put into them years ago.
If you are in your 60s or 70s and still have many of your own teeth, regular dental care with thoughtfully planned treatment, could see you enjoying life and eating healthily for another twenty or thirty years.
Quick Tips To Keep Ageing Teeth Healthy:
- Be sure to visit the dentist for regular check-ups and a thorough clean. This will help identify any issues early on and prevent future issues from occurring.
- Drink plenty of water. This will help keep your teeth healthy by diluting acids in the mouth and remove any lingering food particles between meals.
- Maintain regular flossing and brushing, twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste.