submitted by Dr. Michael Spadafora, D.D.S., Bucks County Dental Design
Today’s senior citizens have lives different from their parents and grandparents. They are healthier, more active, often still working, and certainly living longer.
For all these reasons, regular dental care and check ups are more important than ever. The mouth is the gateway to the whole body.
The senior’s dental visit is one more opportunity for the patient to be seen and evaluated by a health care professional.
Many dental and overall health issues can be detected in the dental chair.
One issue often presented in a senior citizen is dry mouth.
While this condition may be the result of reduced saliva flow, it can also indicate the presence of certain diseases (for instance Sjogren’s Syndrome) or be the result of medication or radiation treatments.
The dentist can direct you to options to help resolve this condition.
The presence of Thrush in the patient’s mouth can indicate poor hygiene, a side effect of a drug, or possibly an immune system disease. Patients who have dentures can present with an inflammation of the gum tissue under a denture, which could result from a poor denture fit, poor hygiene, or the presence of a fungus.
These issues need to be resolved as they will affect the patient’s overall health.
Periodontitis (gum disease) is a red flag for the dental health team, especially when it is a condition that had not previously been detected. Periodontitis can indicate the presence an underlying disease, for example diabetes.
Equally important is the well-known connection between gum disease and heart issues. Treatment is essential, especially in the senior citizen, for overall good health.
Finally, the dentist can be the first line of defense in cancers of the mouth, gums, and jaw.
While your dentist does his regular check-up, he is on alert for any changes in these areas and will refer you to specialists for follow-up care.
Your regular dental appointment is a powerful tool in maintaining your good health.
Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity!