New statistics reveal that baby boomer seniors are at a higher risk of developing tooth decay and other oral health conditions. A number of different factors have been identified as the cause of this growing dental issue.
- Poor Oral Hygiene
Poor oral hygiene, both in their younger years and as they age, contribute to the formation of cavities, gum disease and other oral health conditions. Good oral hygiene consists of brushing at least twice a day, regular flossing and annual visits to the dentist.
While most baby boomers seem to have had good oral hygiene at home, very few made regular visits to the dentist. Physical, mental and emotional decline in later years contribute to a lack of oral hygiene in all areas, contributing to tooth decay and other problems.
Simple wear and tear as well as changes in the body due to aging can cause oral health conditions. Poor nutrition throughout the years as well as in the later years can result in a lack of calcium and phosphates being absorbed by the teeth increasing the rate of deterioration.
Seniors require more medication to treat a variety of health conditions. Some medications may contribute to tooth decay. Other medications may lower the absorption rate of certain nutrients that are essential in maintaining good oral health.
Dry mouth is one of the leading side effects of medications that are related to gum disease. Gum disease, in turn, is the primary cause of tooth decay, especially in the elderly.
- Tooth Sensitivity
Sensitive teeth may lead to seniors avoiding brushing or flossing teeth on a regular basis and maintaining good oral hygiene. Tooth sensitivity may be a sign of more serious oral health problems but is easily treatable with the help of a dentist.
- Dental Phobia
A fear of the dentist seems to be much more prominent in baby boomers than in other generations. Dental practices have come along way in the last couple of decades incorporating techniques to minimize pain and discomfort whole having dental procedures performed. Baby boomers generally have not benefited from these advancements and fear going to the dentist.
- Care Facilities
Seniors placed in care facilities are less likely to receive the daily oral hygiene care that they require for optimal dental health. Most baby boomers show a marked decline in oral health within two years of staying at a care facility.
To counteract these factors, regular visits to the dentist become more important as we age.