Dental Care for Seniors – How Aging Affects Your Oral Health

March 17, 2020

Filed under: Health,Tips — derbydental @ 5:28 pm

If it’s not one thing it’s another when it comes to aging.  At Derby Dental we take pride in understanding our the dental care needs of our senior patients and the issues that they face.  As we age, unfortunately, our mouth and teeth age as well.  Many of our patients are taking one or more medications. 

Dry Mouth

The number one side effect of most medications is dry mouth.  But dry mouth can also result from the aging process or just daily stress.  This dry mouth leads to greater risks of cavities, gum disease and mouth infections.  We all know that saliva in your mouth starts the process of digestion, but it also helps wash bacteria and food off your teeth.  This defense is essential to your oral health.  As we age, the soft root surfaces become exposed with recession, brushing techniques, clenching/grinding  and bite changes over time.  To offset the effects of dry mouth, our dentists recommend sipping water throughout the day, chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugar free candy.  Besides avoiding caffeine, dry and salty foods, alcohol and cigarettes, we may also recommend using an artificial saliva product.

Oral Cancer

One of the other dental care risks for our senior patients is the increased risk for oral cancer.  The average age for the diagnosis of oral cancer is now 62 years.  At Derby Dental we have the most advanced techniques for the screening of oral cancer, Oral ID.  Our senior dental patients should be vigilant in their semi-annual cleanings and screenings.  Maintenance and prevention are the best options to optimize care and to minimize costs.

Financial Challenges

Another factor that is important to our senior dental patients is insurance.  Many of our patients are entering retirement and may no longer have dental insurance.  This transition affects the patients’ ability to afford and seek essential dental care.  That’s why Derby Dental offers an in-house financial plan (Derby Care Plan) that mimics some of the same insurance benefits once seen with dental
insurance.  The Derby Care Plan offers patients a way to have normal preventive procedures covered and discounted rates on recommended treatments by our dentists. 



At Derby Dental, we care about providing our senior patients
the best and most affordable dental care in Austin, TX.  Don’t put off your regular screenings and

Brushing Like Your Health Depends on It: The Link Between Oral Hygiene and Alzheimer’s Disease

July 8, 2019

Filed under: Health — derbydental @ 5:56 pm

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been taught that not brushing your teeth can have major consequences. Not just like having stanky no-one-will-ever-kiss-you breath, but real problems–like increased risk of heart disease and stroke associated with gingivitis and periodontal disease. If that wasn’t motivation enough to diligently floss and brush every day, now there’s new science to suggest a very real correlation (not just causation!) between poor oral hygiene and Alzheimer’s Disease.

There are jokes about folks with Alzheimer’s being able to hide their own Easter eggs but the truth is, there’s nothing to laugh about here. If you’re not familiar with Alzheimer’s, it’s a form of dementia that leads to extreme memory loss as well as a decline in cognitive abilities. A person suffering from Alzheimer’s could be standing across the street from the home they’ve lived in for forty years and not know where they are. It’s a terrifying predicament for the sufferer and also challenging for the family and loved ones.

So you know that gunky plaque stuff that builds up on our teeth? That’s actually a biofilm made up of a mass of bacteria and other microbes that produce toxins. If you let that biofilm get out of control, your gums will start to get red and inflamed. This is known as the mildest stage of gum disease, gingivitis. If left to progress even further, little pockets will develop around the teeth and you’ll develop full blown periodontal disease. The bacteria in plaque can now get deep under the gumline, causing the pockets to deepen. If left untreated, you could be looking at bone and tissue loss and your teeth will eventually become loose.

One of the key pathogens in biofilm that leads to periodontal disease is called Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. ging). This jerk of a pathogen secretes another friend in crime called gingipains. It’s these two infectious agents that have been found in 96% of those with Alzheimer’s. They are able to enter the body through diseased gum tissue as well as during invasive dental work, like extractions and periodontal surgery. In the study linked above, mice were infected with P. ging and it showed “brain colonization” as well as increased production of components that are found in amyloid plaques, which destroy connections between nerve cells that eventually leads to dementia. It’s also worth mentioning that P. gingivalis was found in 100% of patients with cardiovascular disease.