Oral health among adults age 65 and older has greatly improved over the past 50 years, but aging can create unique challenges when it comes to dental care. By understanding how some medications affect oral health, maintaining healthy habits and keeping up with regular preventive treatment, you can keep your teeth and mouth healthy for many years to come.
Medications and Oral Health
Dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription and non-prescription drugs. When you’re prescribed a new medication, be sure to consult your doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects like dry mouth, which can increase your risk of developing cavities.
There are ways you can minimize the symptoms of dry mouth. To increase saliva flow, drink more water, chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy. The antibacterial properties in saliva help protect tooth decay and cavity risk associated with dry mouth. Talk to your dentist for other options, including mouth rinses and artificial saliva.
Maintain Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Unhealthy habits like tobacco use or alcohol consumption can be detrimental to your oral and overall health, especially later in life. The use of tobacco and alcohol increases your risk for oral health problems, including gum disease and oral cancer. Most people diagnosed with oral cancer are over 60 — the median age of diagnosis is 62 years old.
Avoid tobacco and alcohol to lower your risk of developing these diseases. Regular oral health practices like brushing twice a day and flossing daily will further decrease your risk of developing oral health problems.
Preventive Care is More Important Than Ever
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about two-thirds of adults age 65 or older have gum disease. And, new research shows that postmenopausal women with gum disease have a greater risk of developing cancer.
In order to avoid these conditions, it’s crucial that you continue to visit your dentist on a regular basis throughout your life. Dentists play a large role in identifying diseases that can affect not just your oral health, but your overall health, too.
TruAssure’s Max Savings, Choice and Choice Plus plans all offer three cleanings per year, which gives you access to the preventive care necessary to maintain your oral and overall health. Additionally, unlike other carriers who may have age limits or age banded rates, TruAssure plans offer no age limits or rate increases for individuals older than 65.