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Importance of dental care for the elderly

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Caring for the integrity of oral tissues should be a priority for patients of all ages, but especially for seniors. Therefore, dentistry for the elderly is a specialty that has gained increasing popularity in the country.

After all, in addition to the fact that the Brazilian population is gradually becoming mostly elderly, at this stage of life the organism becomes a little more fragile and the mouth is more susceptible to bacterial action and diseases resulting from these problems.

Along with this increase in the vulnerability of the body’s defense systems, neglect of oral care, carried out throughout life, can lead to serious problems that start to be felt when the patient is older.

Therefore, attention to the health and oral integrity of patients over 60 years of age should be even more prioritized, including those responsible for and caregivers of the elderly.

Oral health in old age

Oral health is extremely important in people’s lives and routines. It interferes with the quality of chewing, nutrient absorption, diction, respiratory process, maintenance of facial bone mass and can even impact the sociability of patients.

As the years go by, the organism as a whole suffers from some natural wear that hamper the immune system’s ability to fight infections and maintain the integrity of organic structures. And the same happens in the oral cavity.

Thus, the mouth of elderly patients becomes more vulnerable to the appearance of conditions, such as:

1.   Caries

Caries is an inflammatory disease that is caused due to bacterial action and the production of harmful acids. Thus, the layer that protects the teeth starts to suffer injuries that cause erosion, demineralization and the appearance of cavities on the tooth surface.

Thus, one of the main causes of caries onset is the neglect of proper oral hygiene, which leads patients to develop gingival retraction and root caries – which is the most common type in the elderly –.

In these cases, in addition to the extra expenses with how much tooth restoration costs, patients may need to pay for the placement of the dental pin, gum surgery, among other procedures aimed at emergency treatment of this more severe type of caries.

2.   Gingivitis

Gingival inflammation, also known as gingivitis, is one more consequence of bacterial action, the accumulation of food on teeth and the harmful effects of acids produced by oral microorganisms.

This is because, in an attempt to fight plaque, tartar and inflammation of these tissues, the immune system initiates a series of reactions that are identifiable through symptoms, such as:

  • Gingival bleeding;
  • Swelling in the affected region;
  • Gingival retraction;
  • Gum wounds and pus;
  • Bad breath, among others.

Although it is not a very severe disease, if these symptoms are not treated in time, the pathology can progress to more severe conditions with permanent effects.

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3.   Periodontitis

Periodontal disease is exactly an evolution of gingivitis that starts to attack the inner tissues of the gums, reaching the facial bones, the supporting nerves of the teeth, the tooth root and even the blood system of patients.

In this case, the disease is most responsible for the loss of bone mass, the permanent softening of the teeth, the gingival retraction and the expenses with the tooth extraction price, which is part of the prevention treatment of other clinical complications.

4.   Edentulism

It is estimated that approximately 40% of the entire Brazilian population, over 60 years old, no longer have any natural teeth. And this is one of the results obtained by the neglect of oral hygiene and the lack of regular follow-up with a dentist.

Although it is a popular conception, edentulism – tooth loss in adult patients – is not a natural consequence of aging.

When people take proper care of their dental structures, they can keep their teeth even into old age.

However, when this care is insufficient or inappropriate, the use of fixed dental prosthesis or the famous dentures should be one of the procedures adopted to recover the patients’ chewing capacity and nutritional quality.

Importance of maintaining dental follow-up

Along with following an improved brushing routine, performed three times a day and followed by flossing, regular monitoring with a dentist is very important to ensure the health and well-being of all dental structures.

This is because, in addition to serving to resolve doubts about specific treatments – such as how much the transparent device price or how tooth whitening is done – these visits are necessary for cleaning and fluoride application.

Thus, the dentist is able to remove all dental biofilm and tartar accumulated in the hardest-to-reach places.

In addition, it can perform a detailed assessment of oral health, identifying diseases and conditions that can compromise the integrity of the teeth at an early stage.

Therefore, it is recommended that all seniors have a routine dental appointment at least once every six months.

This is very necessary for instructions on the best way to sanitize the transparent dental appliance, the tongue and the entire oral cavity and as a prophylactic method of illnesses that can spread throughout the body.

Content originally developed by the blog team Qualivida Online, a website on which you can find various information and contents about physical and mental health care.

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