Dr. Martin D. Levin and Dr. Neil Starr Present “Preserving Your Dentition for Life” at the Cosmos Club’s Wellness Group

Life expectancy has doubled in the past 100 years as a result of improved medical care with the development of vaccines, medications, medical technologies, improved hygiene measures, healthier diets and increased physical exercise. Dentistry maintains the philosophy of “preserving the patient’s dentition for life.” So as patients are living longer, their dentists need strategies to construct, preserve and maintain oral health, function and esthetics. Martin D. Levin (’08) and Neil Starr (’20), who both hold advanced dental degrees, discussed both diagnostic and clinical treatments that support the aging patient’s dental needs for a longer, healthier life.

Dr. Levin stated that as the adult population ages, individuals will be affected by dental conditions associated with aging including dry mouth, caries and periodontitis and may show increased sensitivity to drugs used in dentistry. Critical to dental wellness is an understanding of how aging affects the salivary glands. While studies show that salivary gland function is relatively unchanged in the healthy geriatric population, many medications may cause a reduction in salivary flow resulting in dry mouth, taste aberration and poor oral hygiene, all of which greatly affects quality of life.

If patient’s teeth and gums are compromised, aging individuals are less comfortable chewing food and tend to have more frequent sores in their mouths due to the thinning of their tissues. This discomfort affects their ability to enjoy meals and nutrition often suffers. The resulting frustration often has a strong psychological impact, resulting in shorter life expectancy.