The biggest myths surrounding seniors and their teeth 41



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With Senior Health and Fitness Day being celebrated this week (on Wednesday, 27 May), now’s the perfect time for us to consider some of the biggest myths surrounding seniors and their oral health.

Throughout my 30+ years working in the dental industry, time and time again, I find that people mistakenly believe that dentures are inevitable.

Fact: This just isn’t the case.

If you properly care for and maintain your teeth throughout your lifetime, it’s almost impossible (we can never say never in life) for you to wind up looking like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings series (a personal favourite of mine).

When talking to my patients, I like to keep it simple: Most of what happens to your teeth is preventable.

Thanks largely to miseducation, most people believe that by the time we hit a certain age, we’ll lose our teeth due to ‘old age’ meaning we’ll eventually need implants or dentures.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve worked in this industry for over three decades now and in every one of my clinics, we embrace preventative dentistry. This means we actively focus on doing whatever is necessary in order to maintain dental health.

Having dental treatment when you need it as opposed to reaching a point when treatment is urgent and can’t be put off any longer, is always the preferred option.

Senior Health and Fitness Day provides us with a great opportunity to highlight oral health. After all, this day is all about reiterating the importance of exercise and nutrition to maintain our health and prevent illness in the longer-term.

Of course, having healthy teeth as we continue to mature is vitally important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and quality of life. I’ve seen people with a lot of dental issues during my career and it’s heartbreaking from my perspective because I know all too well that most of it is preventable.

If you are over 60, my message to you is to continue visiting your local dentist. My relationship with my patients is very important to me and I know that most of my more mature patients avoid going to the dentist because of the costs involved.

I really do understand and unfortunately, because of the nature and complexity of dental treatment, sometimes dental fees can add up.

A good dentist will speak with you about your options after a dental examination. Having an examination will help you to understand what’s going on with your teeth and keep you updated as to whether any treatment is urgent.

Sometimes, delaying treatment costs you more money in the longer-term but worse still, reduces the predictability of the treatment’s longevity.

By Dr Jon Kozeniauskas (Dentist)

Guest Contributor

  1. LOL … ‘false’, misleading photo ‘grabber’!! The beautiful lady in pic certainly does NOT have her own teeth!! Great advertising for dentures though … worked, got me to read the article but a tad late for most of us I would suggest.

  2. When I was a lot younger, I had some teeth knocked out. I guess these days they would try to put them back – not then. Then I lost a tooth with every pregnancy. Bit late for me, although I still have a lot of my own teeth and I have always looked after them, but can anyone justify the cost of a dentist?????

    4 REPLY
    • Yes…neglecting teeth can lead to terrible health problems ..a friend of mine is living proof. There are free dental clinics

    • Well Valerie, I have never neglected mine and still I don’t have great teeth. I went to a “free” dental clinic just two weeks ago and it cost me $45.00. I am on disability pension.

      1 REPLY
      • my ‘free’ clinic is nowhere near public bus route… so how am I supposed to even get there?

    • I’m afraid I can’t justify the cost of a dentist!
      Are they kidding? it’s several hundred dollars from the minute you walk in the door, even with private health insurance! AND they generally only give 7 days to pay their accounts
      Sooo I will be one of the ones whose teeth rot out in their head and end up with dentures!

  3. Why do Seniors not look after their teeth ? COST ! I was a child in WW 2 and there were no dentists around until I was 7 , nor a lot of toothpaste or brushes available. My teeth are now poor, still have a few but have 4 lower ones very loose and need removing. Quote $600 – for what would be 5 minutes work. Plus a rework of the lower denture. When dentists bulk bill or lower charges it will be a great day. They do not need to know as much as a doctor about anatomy,physiology and illnesses,diseases, but their fees are huge compared with doctors, a lot of whom also bulk bill. I am on a government waiting list but it is 12 months or so, unless something painful happens in the meantime. Just not being able to eat steak or an apple does not qualify as an emergency.

    1 REPLY
    • I have dentures & can’t eat an apple for instance! I remove my plate to eat jubes.. A friend removes his to eat period!!

  4. Hey …. your target audience does not need reminding of all the things we SHOULD have done …. that boat has long sailed. Perhaps some current hints on less expensive dental care would be helpful … just saying ….

  5. Love what you guys are trying to do for we Baby Boomers but your target audience does not need reminding of all the things we SHOULD have done …. that boat has long sailed. Perhaps some current hints on less expensive dental care would be helpful … just saying ….

  6. No fluoride in my day, but still have a few of my own & part plate,all my kids have their own teeth 57 to 48…fluoride best thing ever….dentists charge like wounded bulls…

  7. My dentist recently told me that barring unforeseen accidents, my own teeth should go the distance! There are free dental clinics. My husband goes to one and is more than happy with his treatment there

    2 REPLY
    • Where is the free clinic.Know someone who needs one.

    • My dentist said something like that too. Being told your teeth are in good shape is much better than being told you look nice. It made my day.

  8. Why dental care should be some how included in Medicare. Prevention is the best. My dental start was bad but as an adult been v careful and paid a not so small fortune looking after them. But the very poor how do they manage.
    Plus dental Health is linked to other health issues.

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