1025 Vey Way • The Dalles, OR 97058 • 541.296.5766 • E-mail

Dennis Alleman, DMD, PC

Senior Dental Concerns

Seniors and Dental Health Care

It is a fact of life, that at each stage of life, we have changing conditions and priorities. This is true of our health and health care priorities as well.

It seems that the older we get, that the more often we have to visit our doctors and healthcare providers.

Seniors are especially prone to many oral conditions. And since your healthy mouth is important to your overall health, regular checkups and knowing what to look out for and what to do, can improve the quality and length of your life.

Dr. Alleman feels that good habits of daily cleaning and brushing, diet, the use of fluoride and customized regular checkups can help the aging person adapt to changing conditions.

Seniors commonly experience decreased manual dexterity and mobility. Many are taking several medications, most of which reduce salivary flow and affect health dramatically. Many seniors are also fatigued or more tired than they were and just need to find ways to do things easier and more efficiently. You dental friends can help you there!

Many seniors have found that switching to one of the new modern electric toothbrushes, using a fluoride brush on gel or fluoride tray each night to gain extra protection against cavities, and having your checkup and cleaning every 3 months instead of every 6 months is a good plan to keep your oral health and smile!

Changes to the Teeth and Gums

With time and exposure to habits and stresses developed over our lifetimes, things change.

We might suddenly note that our teeth darken due to long term exposure to dental plaque and stains, or to cracks and changes in the inner dentin of the teeth, due to grinding or other oral habits. The gums may recede and uncover the vulnerable parts of the roots. Exposed roots are darker and softer than the enamel part of the tooth, and are prone to decay. Fillings can decay and darken too, as they weaken over time.

"Dry Mouth" may develop. Saliva is very important to lubricate, wash away plaque and stains and neutralize bacterial acids found in plaque. Flow of saliva can decreased by a medical disorder or be a side effect of antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers, or diuretics for example.

The combination of slowly developing dental problems over time, combined with senior's fatigue and decreased diligence and home care, dry mouth and acidified plaque can cause sudden and rampant decay, sores or other oral and systemic conditions which can be very difficult to control.

Some seniors may feel that they are not worth the time and effort for optimum or regular dental care, but they are worth it!

This is not the time to be having complex dental problems. This is the time to be enjoying the benefits of good oral health and a comfortable and beautiful smile!

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