As the population ages and life expectancy increases, the number of people over the age of sixty-five has become the fastest-growing group in the world. The percentage of Americans over the age of 65 has quadrupled since 1900, with about 54.1 million people currently over the age of 65 in the United States.
As baby boomers continue to age, they will be making up a larger and larger portion of the population. With this population growth comes increased demand for dental care. As boomers age, their risk for dental problems increases. Not only does age put them at greater risk for cavities and gum disease, but it also puts them in a higher risk category for more significant oral health issues.
Baby boomers are known for their confidence and assuredness, both excellent traits that can waver as they get older. The best way to restore this confidence is to keep smiles healthy and bright with regular dental checkups.
Tips for Preventive Dental Care for Baby Boomers
Find a Family Dentist Near You
Make it a priority to find a dentist near you. By locating a dentist near your home, it will be more convenient for you to visit the office. Finding a dentist that you like and trust is essential because you will be visiting them regularly for years to come.
Try to avoid dental offices that make you feel uncomfortable. If you are not at ease visiting the dentist, you are more likely to delay going. Dean Dental Solutions has offered friendly, patient-centered family dentistry in Arkansas since 1994.
We know it makes you feel old, but if you’re having difficulty remembering to properly care for your teeth, set alarms and reminders on your phone to help. Regular preventive care can make a huge difference in your long-term dental health.
Don’t Skip Visits to the Dentist
Regular dental cleanings are essential. You should have professional cleanings at least twice a year. These cleanings help remove plaque and bacteria from the teeth and it is also how your dentist and hygienist can diagnose and prevent dental diseases and problems.
Dental work and regular visits aren’t just for those who already may have issues with their oral health. The best way to avoid those issues is through consistent checkups and cleanings. Preventive dental care helps maintain a bright and healthy smile for life and prevents oral health issues before they occur.
Preventive services range from sealants and x-rays to regular cleanings and consultations to help you develop healthy habits. These allow you and your dentist to work together to catch, reverse, and treat any health issues before they worsen. This is especially beneficial if you’re already prone to toothaches or other problems, but regardless, it’s a helpful and necessary routine that will save both your smile and your wallet.
What Happens at Your Regular Dental Checkup?
Dental visits typically have two parts. First is the evaluation, where the dentist will review your oral health and carefully inspect your entire mouth and jaw. They’ll likely take X-rays to ensure they have a complete understanding of what’s going on. This will allow them to catch any underlying issues that may not be visible otherwise and treat you more effectively.
The second half of your dental check-up will be a cleaning. Your dentist will take great care with tools like curettes (small scrapers) and water flossers to remove any plaque or tartar buildup you may have on your teeth. This may take a while, but the difference in the feel and look of your smile is immediate.
Finally, your dentist will work with you to schedule further appointments and set a good dental care routine. If there are any issues found during your examination, they’ll guide you in the next steps and help you decide what’s most beneficial for you. If you require more serious dental work, they’ll likely set up a consultation or provide further information on the procedure.
Risk Factors Associated with Dental Problems in Baby Boomers
Many factors can contribute to the development of dental problems as we get older, including age, diet, personal habits, genetics, and health conditions.
As we age, our body's ability to fight off diseases and maintain good dental health decreases. Because of this, there are increased risk factors that can lead to dental issues. Older adults are at a higher risk of developing cavities, tooth infections, gingivitis, and needing root canals.
Dental problems can often be a result of genetics. If your parents or siblings have dental problems, you are at greater risk of developing these issues. This is not specific to baby boomers, but still plays a large part in your oral health.
If your parents had specific oral health issues, be sure to inform your dentist so you can watch for signs of those issues in yourself.
Certain acidic foods and drinks, such as soft drinks and sports drinks, can erode teeth and increase the risk of major dental issues. As you age and your enamel wears down naturally, this can become more serious.
If you have sensitive teeth or weak enamel, make sure that you’re limiting your intake of acidic beverages and foods. If you can’t give up the coffee or soda, try using a straw to keep the beverage from making direct contact with your teeth.
Lack of Regular Dental Care
When you don’t regularly visit the dentist, damage to your teeth can compound and accelerate, causing more significant oral health issues. It is especially important to see the dentist regularly as you get older.
Whether because of cost, lack of insurance, or difficulty with transportation, seniors often have a difficult time receiving the dental care they need. Talk to your dentist to see if they have any senior-friendly programs or partnerships with transportation services. You can also find resources at your local Area Agency on Aging.
As we age and health deteriorates, we all end up taking more medication than we expected. Make sure that your dentist has a complete list of every medication and supplement you take to avoid complications.
This is especially important if you are on blood thinners, which can cause excessive bleeding during normal dental procedures.
Many medications can also cause dry mouth, especially in combination with other drugs. Dry mouth can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and other dental problems. Talk to your dentist about products and treatments that could help you manage your dry mouth.
Why Should You Get Dental Checkups Regularly?
Dental checkups often seem intimidating or time-consuming. Many people feel like they just don’t have the time to worry about a checkup at the dentist. However, the benefits of consistent and timely visits are worth it.
Regular dental checkups can act as a diagnostic tool. Your oral health matters as much as any other part of your body and making sure you’re free of things like infection or gum disease is key. Your dentist will ensure there are no underlying health issues through X-rays and close inspection. If you already have fillings, crowns, or previous dental work, consistent maintenance is especially important.
Education on oral health encompasses more than brushing and flossing. Regular checkups will allow your dentist to help you create a personalized care routine that best suits your smile. Every smile is different, after all, and a specialized dental care routine will help you maintain yours.
Education on oral health can also include information on other services like cosmetic care. Services such as dental implants are popular for baby boomers due to the many cost-effective benefits that help maintain a youthful and vibrant smile.
Cleanings and Care
Professional cleanings remove plaque buildup that cannot be removed through regular flossing and brushing. This will prevent tooth decay or gum disease.
Keep Costs Low
Regular dental checkups will save you money in the long run. Fixing a problem is much more expensive than preventing one. While it can seem like a higher upfront cost, regular maintenance prevents more serious and costly problems and ensures your peace of mind and a lifetime of good dental health.
How Often Is “Regular”?
The recommended frequency of dental check-ups is every six months or at least one to two times a year. However, for baby boomers, you may benefit more from checkups and cleanings every three to four months. As we age, our teeth become more vulnerable to gum disease and other health issues. More frequent cleanings and examinations will help prevent and correct these issues, ensuring excellent oral health.
We understand that dental care without insurance can be expensive and off-putting. However, cost should never be an obstacle to health, especially dental health. At Dean Dental, we offer affordable membership and payment plans to help our patients receive the care they need. These include regular checkups and cleanings, as well as exams and X-rays.
Maintaining your oral health is important, especially as you get older. A regular visit to your dentist is just as crucial as a yearly checkup with your family physician.
At Dean Dental in North Little Rock, we specialize in dentistry for baby boomers. We believe this confident, self-assured generation deserves a smile to match. We’ve been providing high-quality dental care to children, adults, and seniors in northern Arkansas since 1994, and it’s our mission to help care for the most influential generation.
Dentistry for Baby Boomers
If you’re looking for a dentist who can help you maintain good oral health and a confident smile, contact Dean Dental Services! We have almost three decades of experience helping our patients improve and maintain their oral health.
To request an appointment or for further information, contact us or visit our site.