Sink your teeth into dental health talks

Teeth can last a lifetime with proper care and regular dental checkups. But after age 50, adults face a variety of unique challenges. Ignoring them can lead to painful and expensive consequences for oral health, experts advise.
To help, Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources is organizing three free public workshops in Tacoma in February. “Caring for Your Teeth after 50” will be offered:
• Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Sound View Building, Suite 200, 3602 Pacific Ave.
• Feb. 18 at 12:10 p.m. at the County-City Building’s Rainier Conference Room (seventh floor).
• Feb. 19 at 12:10 p.m. at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S. 35th St.
The sessions will provide important information about effective oral care and health, said Aaron Van Valkenburg, manager of Aging and Disability Resources.
More than 30 percent of seniors reportedly have untreated cavities. Almost 25 percent of adults have periodontal disease, and nearly 30 percent will lose teeth.
Particularly after 50 years of age, the mouth and teeth begin to change. This is often compounded by changes in diet and metabolism, increased use of medications and other medical conditions. In addition, people visit their dentist less frequently.
Oral health is also directly linked to many chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia.
“Older adults have to pay attention to their oral health,” said Van Valkenburg. “Good health, good diet and good teeth are closely connected. We want people to understand the connections and learn about the enormous benefits of ongoing prevention.”
The workshops will be presented by Claire Brannan, owner of Mobile Classes and Consulting. Brannan teaches classes for caregivers and seniors to help them understand common issues facing aging adults.
Her dental health presentations are sponsored by Washington Dental Services Foundation and Pierce County Aging & Disability Resources.
Additional information is available from Aging and Disability Resource Center at 253-798-4600 or 1-800-562-0332.