It’s a familiar sight in Vietnam: an elderly person chatting and smiling, with a few noticeable holes where tooth decay has taken its toll. If you don’t have any problems with your teeth, thank your lucky stars. You might not think about oral health often, but in many ways it’s a major key to your quality of life.
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Where would you be if you couldn’t eat your food properly? If your jaws hurt and ached with every chew? If you had to endure a smile with empty gaps, marking the places a molar or a canine has fallen out?
Over the age of 60, these concerns often turn into a reality—especially in Vietnam. A survey in 2010 showed that the average 20-year-old in Vietnam has lost one tooth, and citizens over the age of 80 endure life without an average of eight teeth.
Even more tragic? There’s no reason to expect bad teeth as we grow older: with a few precautionary measures, it’s entirely possible to retain all of your teeth into the winter of your life.
Why Do People Lose Teeth?
One of the common misconceptions is that tooth decay is a natural process of ageing. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, tooth loss and periodontal disease stem from a combination of causes—in particular, lazy hygiene (brush your teeth and floss!), lifestyle factors (smoking is a chief cause) and, more often than not, delaying regular checkups.
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So, if you don’t go to the dentist often, chances are your teeth will decay. But here’s the interesting part: if you stay vigilant and get a dental check-up every six months after you turn 60, you’ll actually need the doctor less!
Regular check-ups with a dental consultant who understands good oral health will nip potential infections in the bud and give you on-the-spot treatment for any issues that arise. The trick is, you need to find a dentist well-versed in geriatric treatments, who won’t charge an arm and a leg.
Good Health Means Good Options
Why do we know so much about geriatric tooth loss? Because we’ve made it our business to know, and to care.
Dr. Lam from Elite Dental, a celebrated professional in his field with a PhD earned in France, has made himself the foremost expert in geriatric dentistry in Ho Chi Minh City, taking particular passion in patients without teeth.
Last year, he researched 20 cases of complete edentulous (total tooth loss), and has made ground-breaking research in an effort to fight it: Pro Arch, a four-part implant that literally gives patients a second chance at oral health.
The professionals at Elite Dental don’t have just one way to restore an individual’s teeth to their former glory. Depending on each case, and each person’s budget, we might recommend a dental bridge to restore missing teeth or a dental implant to restore complete tooth function. Each unique case deserves the attention and professionalism on which we pride ourselves.
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Dental implants are a last resort once all other options have failed. Preventative measures are by far the better option, and by far the easiest and least expensive. There’s only one step to this process: book a dental check-up every six months!
Our Tips for Life-Long Healthy Teeth
1. Quit smoking
Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs—it also introduces harmful chemicals into your mouth. These increase bacteria levels, as well as your chance for periodontal disease.
2. Keep up with your hygiene regimen
A bit of a no-brainer, but worth mentioning nonetheless. If you leave food hiding in your teeth, chances are it’ll lead to tooth decay.
3. If something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out
If you think a sore mouth is just a sign of ageing, think again. Nobody has to suffer with bad teeth, so nip the infection in the bud!
4. If you do experience tooth loss, don’t panic
If you lose a tooth despite your best efforts, we know what to do. From tooth implants to dental bridges, we’ll make sure your smile is whole again.
5. Get regular check-ups
The top reason for bad tooth health is neglect, so this one can’t be overstated. If you’re over 60, we recommend seeing a dentist every six months.