The onset of oral cavity pathologies with advancing age

The onset of oral cavity pathologies with advancing age

Oral health is an issue that should not be neglected in youth or as we get older.

Often, patients who go to the dentist already present with severe and multiple diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues.

This is because patients neglect their oral health.

In the case of oral diseases, younger patients have a better chance of recovery and successful treatment than older patients.


Among the pathologies that occur more frequently with advancing age, the following are more common:

  • Oral mucosal dryness – most elderly patients report a dry sensation of the oral mucosa.

Especially in denture wearers, lesions, erosions and inflammations may occur on the edentulous ridges, making it difficult to eat.

In addition to its lubricating role, saliva plays an important role in cleaning dental units and oral mucosa.

Without the washing and cleaning effect, the oral cavity becomes a more septic environment, contaminated with many of the myco-organisms that maintain local bacteremia.

It is good to know that dryness of the oral mucosa can also be a side-effect of the medication patients take.

In this case, a multidisciplinary consultation is needed, in which both the dentist and other specialists must adjust the treatments so that patients feel as little as possible the side effects of the therapy administered.

Proper hydration can remedy this condition.

  • Erosion and especially abrasion of tooth enamel – abrasion and erosion are processes that reduce the amount of enamel, in advanced cases revealing dentin that may show varying degrees of sensitivity.

Abrasion is the loss of tooth substance through mechanical processes, such as untimely brushing with coarse toothpaste, the use of hard toothbrushes and the vicious habit of holding objects between the teeth.

Erosion, on the other hand, is also a process by which enamel prisms are destroyed, but by acidic substances that dissolve hard tissues, such as acidic drinks or even pathologies such as gastro-esophageal reflux disease.

In order to prevent the loss of enamel prisms and the consequent shrinkage of teeth and the appearance of dentine sensitivity, the patient must avoid vicious habits such as biting nails and pens, grinding teeth or opening packaging with the teeth.

Periodontal disease – periodontal disease always starts with gingivitis, which is evidenced by changes in gum volume, red color and bleeding gums during brushing or even spontaneously.

Periodontal disease, to some degree, is almost universally found in elderly patients, especially if oral hygiene has been neglected.

Tartar and plaque also favor the colonization and adhesion of bacteria, the result being the same, gingivitis followed by periodontal disease.

Oral pathology is extensive and untreated, it can be complicated by conditions that eventually affect other body structures and systems.

It is therefore very important that personal hygiene is carried out twice a day, with thorough brushing and the use of secondary means of hygiene. In addition to a hygiene protocol, twice-yearly check-ups with the dentist help to detect diseases early.

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