The Silver Wave – the Effect of Ageing on Oral Health
Have you heard the phrase ‘The Silver Wave’? What do you think this could be referring to? The colour of the ocean? A new style of silver jewellery or maybe the latest hair trend?
The answer may surprise you. The Silver Wave refers to the ever-growing ageing population. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the number of people aged 65 and over is growing at twice the rate of the rest of the population!
By 2028, for the first time in Australia’s history, there will be more people aged over 60 than under 20. 1 in 5 will be over 65 years of age.
This means our patients are living longer and keeping their teeth for longer.
As health professionals interested in a holistic approach to health, we understand that better oral health leads to better general health.
As we age there are many risk factors which can compromise our oral health on top of the normal effects of aging such as reduced dexterity, arthritis, poor eyesight, frailty and reduced mobility.
Our quality of life can be greatly compromised by further complications of ageing such as dementia, hypertension and diabetes.
The oral health implications of ageing include increased tooth sensitivity, increased risk of caries, tooth mobility and loss of teeth, erosion and complications associated with dry mouth, difficulty chewing and swallowing.
Ageing brings complexity and our aim is to support and educate our patients. We discuss their individual risks and prepare them for the dental ageing process to help maintain their quality of life with healthy teeth that are functional, comfortable and aesthetic.
Prevention is always better than cure so plan now for peace of mind later.
The recommendation is to start preparing for the ageing process from 55 years of age however people age at different rates, so age is not just a number. (Just look at ‘The Boss’ Bruce Springsteen who is still rocking it out at 68 years of age!)
The ageing process is also dependent on our diet, attitude to life, habits, disease and illness, stress and sleep.
With over 30 years of experience working with ageing patients, I certainly understand and can assist with ageing oral health.