Senior Citizens Dental Health Concerns

Today we celebrate National Senior Citizens Day. Whether you are a young adult, middle aged or approaching your senior years, this is a day to honor those that have lead us and continue to inspire us along the way. Our senior citizens can lead a fruitful and active lifestyle into their golden years. This will involve taking extra care and focusing on overall health and paying close attention to dental health as well.

Lets take a look at some of the common senior citizens dental health concerns.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the most common dental issue with seniors. Furthermore, the most common cause for new cavities in seniors is dry mouth. Prescription medications are commonly the cause for dry mouth. There is less saliva to break down food and naturally cleanse your teeth. This causes plaque to stick to the teeth longer, which increases the risk for developing cavities.

Gum Disease

Approximately 70 percent of all seniors over 60 have gum diseases. This is because the symptoms may not be noticeable until the disease has advanced. It can become very painful and destroy the gums and tooth-supporting bones, which can lead to tooth loss. Regular dental checkups is crucial to keeping gum disease at bay.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is not as common as gum disease and decay in seniors, but risks become greater as you age. With the average age of oral cancer diagnosis being 62 and an estimated 35,000 new cases per year, it’s important to have regular checkups to screen for early signs. Most oral cancers are treatable if caught early.

Preventative maintenance and repairs will help keep any developing dental issues from becoming more severe with aging adults. South Tampa Smiles encourages everyone to stay on top of your dental checkups and cleanings throughout your life so that you can approach your golden years with a head start on a healthy smile. Give us a call to schedule your next checkup and cleaning at (813) 289 – 0560.  We look forward to being your family dentist for years to come.

Further Reading:

Aging & Oral Health


Jaw Relaxation Techniques – National Relaxation Day

Ever woke up in the middle of the night clenching your teeth and having jaw pain? Or find yourself tightening your jaw when you are feeling stressed? If you have any of these experiences, you should learn some jaw relaxation techniques before the damage gets worse. Waiting too long can cause you to need various forms of dental treatment to control pain and repair broken and chipped teeth.

Grinding and clenching can cause headaches, joint pain and lead to TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction). If left untreated, TMD can lead to tooth decay, sore muscles, headaches, and nerve pain. TMD can become so severe that it disrupts the ability to chew and open the jaw normally.

We have listed a few jaw relaxation techniques to prevent chronic headaches and TMD caused by grinding and clenching:

• Jaw stretching: Using small, circular motions, gently massage your jaw with your fingertips. After massaging, open your mouth as wide as you can and hold there for a few seconds and gently close. Repeat 10 times. This exercise promotes blood flow to the jaw and relaxes the face and jaw muscles.

• Focal Visualization: Sit in a comfortable and quiet space. Begin slow, deep inhale and exhale exercises. Keep your focus on relaxing the entire face, mouth and jaw. Scrunch your face tightly and pull  open widely then relax and repeat. Focal visualization is a powerful jaw relaxation technique.

• Yawning: Yawning on purpose is another way to get your jaw to relax. Open your jaw wide and take a deep breath then exhale and repeat. This exercise relaxes the muscles of your face and jaw.

If you have tried these techniques and are still experience pain associated with grinding or clenching your teeth, contact South Tampa Smiles at (813)289–0560 today for your TMD consultation!


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