Smile fully in adulthood

Will a senior citizen lose their teeth? Today the answer to that question is hopeful; not necessarily. An elderly adult can perfectly maintain all his teeth if he follows periodic check-ups with his dentist (at least once a year) and basic oral health advice, such as performing a correct brushing technique, at least twice a day. floss or interproximal brush and clean dentures properly.

To understand oral dynamics, it is necessary to know that the set of tissues that supports the teeth is known as the periodontium and is made up of the bone, the gum, the cementum and the periodontal ligament (the latter two responsible for the union between the tooth. and bone). These tissues can be affected by infectious inflammatory diseases such as gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or periodontitis (complete inflammation of the periodontal system). Periodontitis causes the loss of the supporting bone of the tooth and, in the later stages of the disease, this loss of support causes the teeth to loosen and eventually fall out. The triggering cause of these inflammatory diseases is simply the accumulation of the well-known bacterial plaque or biofilm, associated with multiple factors that adults may present, such as systemic diseases or smoking.

Contrary to popular belief, there are studies showing that periodontitis is not a natural cause of aging (Burt 1994). Despite the fact that adults actually have a greater predisposition to tooth loss and gingival recessions (or gum recession), it has been shown that this occurs due to the cumulative damage caused by periodontal diseases associated with other traumas and not by the age itself (Papanou, 1999; Albandar, 1999). Consequently, if a person throughout his life cares about taking care of his oral health, avoiding these diseases and other traumas, he can keep his complete teeth in perfect condition despite the years. Given the above, there is adequate education regarding basic oral care throughout life, it would not be too optimistic to think that it is increasingly common for people to reach their golden years with practically all their teeth, allowing them to enjoy greater well-being, facilitating their inclusion and social life.

Dr. Maite Souyet Cases
Dental Surgeon, Specialist in Periodontics
Master of Surgical Sciences
San Sebastián Dental Clinic, COSS

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