Importance of Regular Dental Check-up in Elderly

Soft tissues (gums & cheeks) lose ability to stretch
•Muscles become soft and weak
•Saliva production decreases
•Increased incidence of dental decay
•Increased incidence of gum (periodontal) disease
•Increased brittleness & wearing out of teeth
•Systemic diseases such as DM, anemia etc. affect the oral cavity
•Medications for various problems (many cause xerostomia / dry mouth)
•Oral cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, irradiation & related issues

all these lead to difficulty in chewing, mouth is easily irritated and after injury, heals more slowly. This causes compromised food intake which in turn leads to more problems.

Why elderly adults may reject dental care:

Fear of pain. Fact: – Painless dentistry is more easily accomplished with older adults than any other age group esp. due to the decrease in the nerve fibers.

Preoccupation with impending death creates a feeling of “since I am old and will die soon, I do not need dental care.” Fact: Comfort, function and appearance are important at any age. These positive aspects of good dental care can often improve the older adult’s psychological outlook.

Cost of treatment – dental treatment is awfully expensive and elders can’t afford treatment. Fact: A periodic check-up and management of minor problems is never an expensive affair, unless the damage is too severe. On the contrary, it works out cheaper in the long run and improves the quality of life dramatically.

All these three mentioned reasons lead seniors to avoid or delay dental treatment…

The result of such neglect is a crippled existence… an existence where –
•Chewing is less efficient
•Food is less tasty
•Food intake is compromised – improper nutrition leads to more problems such as decreased immunity & poor regenerative capacity of body tissues.
•This in turn makes the older adults more prone to disease and debility.

Tips on Oral Health and Hygiene Maintenance in Elderly

•Brushing – ordinary soft brush, power brush, inter-dental brushes
•Rinsing – ideally chlorhexidine based. Avoid alcohol based mouthwashes
•Wiping with gauze
•Use of water irrigators
•Dry mouth – use of glycerine / plain water sips / saliva substitutes
•Dental checkup & cleaning once in 6 months

Please note:

And at the end, it’s not the years in your
life that count. It’s the life in your years!”
Abraham Lincoln

Article Topic :

Article Compiled By :
Dr. Bharti Tomar
BDS MDS (Gold Medalist)

Dentist In Vivek Vihar.
Prosthodontist In Vivek Vihar.
Implantologist In Vivek Vihar.