A 67-year-old California woman just survived a heart attack and is waiting for kidney surgery. Prior to learning she had heart disease, her constant pain from a tooth ache and missing teeth from gum disease led her to see treatment. Today, she's glad she looked after her mouth before her health problems manifested.
Just two months after she underwent restorative and surgical dental procedures her health deteriorated and she had a heart attack. With a kidney surgery looming in the near future, she's glad she's able to focus on getting better without worrying about a nagging dental condition, making her health challenges even worse!
As baby boomers age, the number of medications they take and the complexity of their medical history increases. While people over 65 years are only about 12 % of the population, they consume 33% of all prescription drugs and more than 50% of over-the-counter medications.
According to National Center for Health Statistics more than 80% of all older people take at least one medication daily. The percentage of Americans 60 years and older using five or more drugs is 38% compared to 8% of 29 to 60 year olds.
Restorative expert Dr. Olga Malkin says, "As a dentist, I must take into account the future quality of life of a patient. As people age, the number of medications they take not only adversely affect their dental health but also makes dental treatment more difficult to administer."
"Antihistamines, diuretics, antipsychotics and antidepressants can reduce salivary flow, adds Malkin. "This can result in dry mouth which increases the risk of cavities and soft tissue issues. Dry mouth may also decrease the ability to wear dentures." Also,as the heart disease progresses with age, it may become impossible to easily discontinue blood thinning medications to perform necessary surgical procedures such as extractions or implant placement."
Studies show that a 55-60 year old patient taking one or two medications and in good healthy might not be int he same condition 5-10 years from now. So, a wait and see approach to dental treatment is dangerous these days.
For an interview with Dr. Malkin:
Contact: Cathy Griffin
Page One Consultants
310 592 9520
Dr. Olga Malkin, Prosthodontist
11980 San Vicente Blvd. Ste 619
Brentwood, CA 90049