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Common Signs of Dental Disease Among Seniors

by Dr. Joshua Davidson, Senior Dental Care Expert
November 22, 2012

Question: What are the common signs of dental disease among seniors?

Answer: 1. Dental decay has one cardinal sign - if a specific tooth is sensitive to sugary foods/drinks, there is a cavity and the tooth needs to be repaired.
2. Sensitivity to cold is often the sign that a cavity has reached the pulp (nerve and blood supply) of a tooth. Generic sensitivity across the whole mouth is not uncommon and usually has a few contributing factors such as receding gums or even sensitivity to a specific brand of toothpaste.
3. Seniors tend to take many medications and one side effect is “dry mouth”.  Dry mouth is not dental disease, but a dry mouth can very quickly increase the rate of decay because the flow of saliva  is diminished. A dry mouth is not good. Keep your mouth wet at all times with sips of water throughout the day.

Most important, brush twice a day and floss in the evening before you go to bed. Going to sleep with spotlessly clean teeth will make a huge difference in avoiding cavities. These two simple behaviors and the best way to keep your teeth and oral tissues healthy.

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Joshua Davidson is a 2011 graduate of the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health. He simultaneously received his Masters Degree in Public Health. He currently works at the Chippewa Falls Dental Center in Chippewa Falls, WI focusing on issues of geriatric dental care.

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