September is Healthy Aging® Month, and our dentist wants to remind adults of the importance of regular dental exams and cleanings as you get older. Some dental issues are more likely in seniors, such as cavities, severe gum disease and oral cancer. These concerns can all be diagnosed during a routine dental exam and highlight the importance of good dental hygiene and care in your golden years.
Why Older Adults Are at Higher Risk for Poor Oral Health
Many adults must take medication to control a condition or improve health, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety, depression or allergies. Pharmaceutical drugs that manage these health problems may cause dry mouth, which places the patients taking them at higher risk for tooth decay. Seniors and older adults are often surprised to see more cavities crop up around this time, but regular dental exams and thorough brushing and flossing can help.
Gum disease can take years, even decades, to progress to the severe stages. When left untreated, it leads to periodontitis, which damages the jawbone and supportive ligaments and causes tooth loss. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that 17.2 percent of adults over 65 have periodontal disease. This higher prevalence could be attributed to long-term gum disease that was undiagnosed or not treated.
Oral cancer of the mouth, throat and tongue tends to affect older generations more than other age groups. The average patient with oral cancer is 62, and early detection can save a life. Dental exams routinely screen for oral cancer.
What to Expect at Your Dental Exam at 5 Mile Smiles
Dr. Jason Keefe is our expert dentist known for his friendly nature and ability to make patients of all ages feel at ease at our Spokane office. He recommends professional dental cleanings twice a year for most patients, but seniors may require more frequent visits for ongoing concerns. Daily brushing and flossing can maintain oral health but won’t remove all the debris from food particles and bacteria buildup. A professional dental cleaning leaves you with a healthier, brighter smile after your dental exam.
Our dental hygienist will ensure your teeth are cleaned thoroughly, and Dr. Keefe checks for common mouth concerns, such as cavities and gum disease. Discuss your concerns during your dental exam, including increased tooth sensitivity or mouth pain.
Our office uses intraoral cameras and digital X-rays to capture images of your teeth and diagnose tooth decay more efficiently so we can identify dental problems before they get worse.
Schedule Your Dental Exam in Honor of Healthy Aging® Month
If it’s time for your next dental exam or it’s been a while since your last visit, contact 5 Mile Smiles in Spokane, Washington, today to schedule your appointment. Call (509) 326-2621 or fill out our online contact form.