Dental health is vital to a person’s overall well-being, and dental health needs and concerns may change with age.
Dr. Bharathi Shivanand, Dentist at the PACE CNY clinic, has worked with PACE participants since 2016 and has seen many patients with various concerns. In her experience, she has noticed the following dental health issues or needs that most commonly affect older adults. Some of these include:
- Tooth Loss
- Need for Dentures
- Extractions (or teeth pulling)
- Gum disease
- Broken or infected teeth
Medications and other seemingly unrelated health issues can also affect dental health, leading to older adults often needing specialized dental care throughout their senior years.
However, according to Dr. Shivanand, “Many older adults believe that they no longer need dental care as they age, but what they don’t realize is how much their dental health can affect their quality of life!”
Dental health affects your physical well-being, and poor dental hygiene may also increase your risk for other health issues, such as cancer or heart disease.
It can also impact your mental health and self-image. Many take care of their teeth simply for cosmetic reasons as well. After all, everyone wants to look and feel good, no matter what age!
Another common concern for seniors is finances. Their financial situations may lead them to believe they cannot afford a trip to the dentist. The good news is that with a program like PACE CNY, dental care is covered within participant plans, and may even cover some of the costlier expenses, like dentures.
Additionally, some older adults believe that tooth extraction is unnecessary for them. However, extraction can be beneficial at any age. It brings immense relief and can improve the happiness of participants.
Many seniors may face additional barriers when it comes to taking care of their teeth at home. Luckily, there are ways to make dental health easier for older adults. Dr. Shivanand has a few tips that she commonly shares with participants:
- Try using a water pick to floss – this is helpful for people with shaky hands.
- If it is challenging to brush your teeth, try using a battery-powered toothbrush. Holding the brush over one tooth at a time is better than not brushing at all!
- Teeth Sensitivity? Try using a specialized toothpaste such as Sensodyne to decrease sensitivity and prevent cavities.
- Use toothpaste high in fluoride – it removes plaque and helps to build up enamel.
- Preventative care – it is important to see your dentist regularly to avoid future issues.
Dental care is just one of the many services that PACE CNY provides. Want to learn more about what PACE CNY has to offer? Go to https://pacecny.org to learn more!