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Oral health for older people
Bacterial plaque is formed by colonizing microorganisms trying to attach themselves to the tooth’s smooth surface. Plaque control is basic of the oral health. The plaque can be controlled by daily oral care and periodic prophylaxis operations performed by dentists.
Oral Diseases in the Elderly
95% of oral diseases in elderly patients are periodontal diseases and dental caries caused by bacterial plaque. Seniors cannot brush their teeth well due to decreased motor functions of hands. Gingival recession causes exposed tooth root. The exposed tooth root is a proper retention area for the bacterial plaque. By the age, bacterial plaque exposure time increases and immune functions decrease. And so, body’s defense against plaque microorganism collapses. Decreased salivary flow rate is another reason of the plaque. Also factors such as lack of preventive dentistry, systemic diseases and malnutrition affect oral health, negatively. The physical properties of food also affect plaque formation. Bland diet increases dental calculus and plaque formation. It is difficult to chew for the elderly due to tooth loss and removable partial dentures. So, they consume bland diet and bacterial plaque formation increases. The teeth of older people should be examined in every six month. Patients whose oral hygiene is not good and patients who have a systemic disease that affect oral tissue should be examined in shorter interval (1-3 months).