The Importance of Dental Cleanings for Seniors
Regular dental cleanings and examinations are essential to healthy teeth and gums at every age, but they’re especially important for seniors who face unique oral health issues and challenges.
Dental cleanings should be scheduled at least every six months to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. Dr. Bruce J. Wilderman offers dental cleanings for seniors in Doylestown, PA, Philadelphia, PA, and surrounding areas. We welcome you to schedule your next cleaning with Dr. Wilderman.
Why Are Dental Cleanings Important for Seniors?
Dental cleanings are especially important for seniors because they are at greater risk of oral health problems, such as:
- Dry mouth: Dry mouth is a condition commonly experienced by seniors in which insufficient amounts of saliva are produced in the mouth. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, cancer treatments involving radiation around the head or neck, and other diseases. Insufficient saliva can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Gum disease: Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums caused by a buildup of plaque at and below the gum line. It can be made worse by certain health conditions many seniors deal with, including diabetes and anemia. Dentures and tobacco use can also increase the risk of gum disease.
- Root decay: Root decay occurs when the roots of the teeth are exposed to bacteria, plaque, and food acids. Root decay is most likely to occur in seniors with significant gum disease.
- Tooth loss: Tooth loss is a common problem for senior patients. Years of neglect or years of use can cause damage to the teeth and lead to tooth loss in seniors.
- Thrush: Thrush is a type of fungal infection that can grow in the mouth and is most common in seniors with a compromised immune system.
Dental Cleanings Help Protect Oral Health in Seniors
Because seniors face increased risk to their oral health, undergoing regular dental cleanings is extremely important. Not only are cleanings beneficial for oral health, they can also keep the teeth looking their best.
The following are just a few reasons seniors should undergo regular dental cleanings:
- Prevent gum disease: Regular cleanings are essential for removing plaque buildup in places where at-home brushing and flossing can miss. This is especially important for seniors who may have mobility issues with their hands, like arthritis, and aren’t able to clean their teeth as well as they used to.
- Reduce the risk of tooth decay: Professional dental cleanings reduce the risk of tooth decay by removing plaque and food debris from hard to reach areas of the mouth.
- Prevent tooth loss: Preventing gum disease and tooth decay are two of the most effective ways to protect the teeth from tooth loss.
- Keep the smile looking its best: Dental cleanings keep the smile looking its best by preventing tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.
What to Expect During a Dental Cleaning
Dental cleanings may occur before or after a dental examination. During a dental cleaning, the teeth may be scraped with a special tool called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar, a hardened form of plaque.
The teeth are flossed and brushed with an electric brush and special toothpaste. Once the teeth are clean, a fluoride rinse may be provided and a fluoride treatment may be applied to the teeth.
If any dental concerns are identified during the cleaning and examination, another appointment will be scheduled for treatment.
Schedule a Consultation
If you would like to schedule a dental cleaning or have other dental needs, please call our Doylestown office today at (215) 340-1199 to schedule a consultation.