Caregiver Resource: Geriatric Dentist

Posted by Hilary Young on March 26, 2014

Caregiver Resource: Geriatric Dentist

As you age it becomes even more important to see your dentist on a regular basis. It might seem very basic, but dentists are actually a great Caregiver Resource. Philadelphia-area dentist, Dr. Sherly Alex, took the time to explain to us why oral health could be the first line of defense against bigger health issues.

Dr. Sherly Alex, D.D.S.

I believe that every person deserves a healthy smile. I am a general dentist with experience in oral sedation, cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry, endodontics, and Invisalign orthodontics. I provide comprehensive, individualized, treatment plans that underscore preventive dental care for patients of all ages, from toddlers to seniors.

Geriodontics is the delivery of dental care to older adults. As you age, it becomes essential to take good care of your teeth and dental health. Here are reasons why it is important to maintain good oral hygiene among the elderly:

1.     Dental health is directly related to overall well-being. Unhealthy bacteria in the mouth not only can harm your teeth and gums but may be associated with serious medical conditions. Studies have shown that infections in the mouth can be associated with stroke, heart disease and other health problems that are common among the elderly.

2.     Periodontal disease can destroy the gums supporting the teeth in many older adults leading to tooth loss. This is caused by bacteria which irritate the gums causing them to swell and bleed and result in bone loss around the tooth. It is important for the elderly to have regular dental visits so that gum disease can be treated and prevented.

3.     Dry mouth is a common cause of cavities in older adults. Many older patients take medications with side effects that can cause symptoms of dry mouth. Typically drinking more water and using oral moisturizers can help care for this. There are various treatments that dentists can provide to manage dry mouth and prevent cavities.

4.     Oral cancer is still primarily a disease of the elderly. Over 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer each year. On average, most people diagnosed are over the age of 60. It is important to have regular dental visits because early detection saves lives. Any abnormal sores or patches will need to be examined and diagnosed early so that effective treatment can be started on time.

5.    Bacteria stick to your teeth and also to dentures, bridges, and implants. It is important to make extra efforts to clean them regularly. Dentures should be taken out for at least four hours every 24 hours so that the lining of your mouth continues to remain. Dentists can provide instructions for proper care and management of dentures and dental prosthesis.

Remember that taking a few simple steps to care for your teeth will go a long way towards overall health and longevity. Brushing and flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly will keep your smile healthy.

Dr. Sherly Alex, D.D.S. is a premier dentist providing upscale care in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. She received her dental degree graduating with honors from New York University. She was presented with the prestigious Dr. Bernard E. Rudner Memorial Award for her outstanding performance in providing oral comprehensive dental care. Dr. Alex practices at Main Line Dental Group in Wayne, PA. For any questions or to make an appointment, she can be reached at 610-971-0717, www.drsjalex.com, or on twitter @drsjalex


TAGS: geriatric dentist