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The Importance of Regular Oral Screenings for Seniors: What You Need to Know

An elderly woman speaking with her dentist about her routine oral screening results.

Maintaining oral health is important at any age, but it becomes increasingly important as you age. Seniors are at an increased risk of many common dental conditions, including gum disease and tooth decay. Poor oral hygiene may even be linked to serious health concerns like heart disease.

To ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy, you can schedule regular oral health screenings and cleanings with your dentist in Atlanta. Learn more here about the importance of dental exams for seniors.

Preventing Harmful Plaque and Bacterial Buildup

Every time you eat or drink, bacteria and small food particles are left behind on the surface of your teeth and along the gumline. When these particles and bacteria continue to accumulate, they form a substance called plaque.

Brushing and flossing after every meal can reduce the amount of plaque on your teeth. However, this substance can still build up in hard-to-reach areas. During a routine dental cleaning, your oral health care provider will use specialized tools to remove plaque from your teeth.

Addressing Gum Disease in Its Earliest Stages

You can develop gum disease when plaque buildup goes on too long without being addressed. Seniors are at an increased risk of gum disease because dexterity issues, cognitive decline, and other concerns can affect their ability to maintain proper oral hygiene.

During regular oral screenings, a dentist can deeply clean the teeth and gums and discover early signs of gum disease, such as inflamed or bleeding gums. If gum disease is diagnosed in its earliest stages, it can effectively be treated and reversed.

Avoiding Tooth Decay and Natural Tooth Loss

When your oral health concerns have gone untreated for too long, you can experience tooth decay and, ultimately, tooth loss. Cavities, chips, and gingivitis can all create the perfect environment for decay, increasing the likelihood you will need to have a tooth extracted.

Statistics show that one in five adults over the age of 65 in the United States has lost all of their natural teeth. Nearly all adults over 65 have lost one or more teeth. But when you schedule regular screenings, your dentist can treat conditions like tooth decay early on and preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible.

Cleaning and Maintaining Dentures or Other Restoration Appliances

Since many older adults are missing some or all of their natural teeth, it’s common for seniors to rely on restorative pieces. Seniors who have lost all of their teeth may wear full sets of dentures. Those who have lost one or more teeth may have dental implants or bridges.

These dental restoration pieces require ongoing maintenance in order to last as long as possible. To maintain the integrity of their dentures or bridges, seniors should have routine dental visits, during which their dentist can thoroughly clean the pieces and check for any signs of damage.

Checking for Signs of Oral Cancer and Lymphoma

A common health concern among older adults is oral cancer. Some forms of oral cancer include lip cancer, lymphoma of the mouth, and skin cancer within the mouth’s tissues. You may not notice signs of cancer on your own, but your dentist will look for them during a routine screening.

In many cases, oral cancer can be effectively treated if it is diagnosed early enough. To screen for signs of cancer, seniors should book at least two visits with their dentist in Atlanta each year.

Decreasing the Risk of Heart Disease

While no direct causation has been proven, more studies show a relationship between poor oral hygiene and heart disease. These studies indicate that having gum disease may increase your risk of developing heart disease later in life.

Seniors are already at an increased risk of serious health concerns like heart disease due to the natural aging process. For your overall health, it’s a good idea to prioritize dental hygiene as you age. Routine oral health screenings can identify early signs of gum disease and help you get your dental health back on track.

Your Dentist in Atlanta for Senior Oral Screenings

Are you looking for a top-quality dentist in Atlanta or the surrounding area? Look no further than Dr. Brett Langston at Dental Implant and Aesthetic Specialists. Dr. Langston leads our team of dental professionals as we provide various services to patients of all ages, including regular oral health screenings for seniors.

You can learn more by contacting us online or scheduling a visit today.