Senior Dental Care in Gilroy, CA

Why is Senior Dental Care Important?

Old man pointing at his smile

Good oral health and proper dental care are crucial at every stage of life but are even more critical for seniors.

As you age, your body loses its ability to heal quickly, and wear and tear damages the joints.

You develop health problems that you did not have when you were younger. Dental health is also adversely affected as you grow older.

There are several dental problems that seniors are likely to develop as they age, including:

Gum Disease

Plaque leads to gum disease and is made worse by poor oral care habits, tobacco use, poor diets, diabetes, and improperly fitting dentures.

Older individuals may also develop cancer, diabetes, or anemia, all of which increase the risk of gum disease.

In turn, receding gums can lead to tooth loss and infections.

Root Decay

Receding gums can lead to root decay that is not easily seen or felt until it is severe. Left untreated, root decay can spread to adjacent teeth and may eventually damage the jawbone.

Because tooth roots do not have enamel, they are more prone to dental caries.

Dry Mouth

Saliva helps wash away debris in the mouth and aids in preventing gum disease and cavities. As you age, your mouth produces less saliva.

Dry mouth can also be triggered by radiation treatments and certain medications.

Missing teeth

Missing teeth can lead to problems as the remaining teeth shift to fill the gap. The result is often problems with chewing and speaking.

You may also develop jaw misalignment.

If you are missing two or more teeth, you are less likely to eat well, leading to nutritional deficits. Getting missing teeth replaced is essential to your oral health.

Candida and Thrush

Poor dental hygiene and dentures that slip and shift can lead to overgrowth of the fungus Candida Albicans, which causes inflammation and pain in the mouth.

owth of the fungus Candida Albicans, which causes inflammation and pain in the mouth. Though often thought of as a childhood disease, Thrush often develops in seniors with a compromised immune system or who are taking certain medications.

Discolored Teeth

Many seniors attribute tooth discoloration or darkening to the normal process of aging.

However, multiple contributing factors if your teeth darken significantly, including enamel loss, decades of staining from foods, and smoking

Darkened teeth can also signify a dying tooth or infection beneath the surface.

Oral Cancer

The older you are, the higher your risk of developing oral cancers.

If you smoke or use tobacco of any kind, your risk increases sharply. Regular dental checkups can catch cancer symptoms earlier for more effective treatment.

Your oral health has a dramatic impact on your overall health. This becomes increasingly important as we age.

Certain illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes, can worsen if you do not care for your teeth and gums.

Gum disease, in particular, can worsen certain heart conditions and contribute to the severity and incidence of strokes.

Seniors, especially those who smoke, have a higher risk of pneumonia and other bacterial infections.

How Can Seniors Improve Their Dental Health?

Happy elderly woman enjoying her beautiful toothy smile looking to the mirror in the dental office

There are many ways seniors can improve and protect their oral hygiene and dental health.

All seniors should follow these guidelines for healthy teeth and gums:

  • Floss once and brush twice daily.

    • If you have fine motor skill problems, look for an electric toothbrush to ensure you are brushing every surface. A soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste are best.
  • Do not skip denture care.

    • It may be tempting to occasionally skip removing and cleaning your dentures at night, but this leads to rapid bacterial growth
  • Plan to see your dentist at minimum twice a year.

    • Routine checkups and professional teeth cleaning are essential to good oral health.
    • A dentist and/or hygienist can also catch problems such as cavities before you have symptoms, making it easier to address the issue(s).
    • For those with compromising health issues, such as diabetes, dry mouth, or even medication side effects, more frequent maintenance visits may be recommended.
  • Reduce sugar consumption.

    • Sugar tends to stick to the teeth, encouraging acids to attack the tooth enamel, leading to cavities and gum disease.
  • Tell your dentist about all medications you take and all illnesses or conditions.

    • Many medications can contribute to dental problems that can be addressed if needed.
  • Dr. Chan can offer several solutions for symptoms, such as a dry mouth.
  • Quit smoking.

    • Smoking can lead to oral cancer, infections, and other problems. It is difficult to stop smoking after years, but your doctor can help.

How Gilroy Smiles Can Help

Dr. Chan and the Gilroy Smiles team

Good senior dental care should be an essential part of every senior’s life.

While there are many things seniors can do at home to preserve their dental health, there is no substitute for routine dental checkups.

Dr. Chan has provided exceptional dental care to seniors in the Gilroy area for forty years, getting to know each patient personally and following their health and wellness over time.

Among the routine services provided by Dr. Chan and his dental care team are dental cleaning, oral cancer screening, and preventive dental care.

He also offers complete restorative, periodontal and cosmetic procedures, including dental implants, dentures, gum disease treatment, and orthodontics.

Dr. Chan’s philosophy focuses on gentle, guided care and patient education, involving seniors in every step of their oral care.

He explains each procedure in clear, easy-to-understand terms and is always available if you have questions or concerns.

Advanced technologies, a calm demeanor, and welcoming, respectful staff make any visit to our office stress-free and pleasant at any age.

Dental problems are likely if you or a senior loved one have not seen a dentist in the past year.

It is time to make an appointment with Dr. Chan for a complete exam and teeth cleaning to protect your health as you age.

Contact our office at Office of Gar N. Chan, D.D.S., Inc. Phone Number 408-847-1234 to make your next appointment schedule online. We look forward to seeing you!