Imagine sailing around the exotic islands and cays of the Caribbean and having to abandon your trip. Not because of wild weather or rigging problems but due to a severe toothache. You can’t get to a dentist, or at least one who speaks your language. So you have to prematurely head home for treatment. As unlikely as it seems, similar scenarios can easily occur because oral health for older men is often put on the backburner as they are too busy to properly look after their teeth.
Sure, you may be looking after your health in other ways. Maybe you are joining your cycling mates for a weekend ride, going for a regular run or swim, or playing veterans rugby or cricket. Yet there’s often a disconnect when it comes to dental health. Many men, aged 55-plus, put off trips to the dentist and regret it in later life when they should be putting up their feet in retirement.
Fear factor impacts oral health for older men
The truth is that some men—reflecting on their childhood experiences when dental treatments were not as sophisticated—fear going to the dentist. They may also take the view that caring for teeth doesn’t fit in with the persona of a successful businessman or manager. So it’s far easier for them to ignore the issue. I know of some people who have put it off for 30 years or more!
Unfortunately, by procrastinating now it can lead later to far more serious oral consequences—and more invasive treatment and larger bills—than if you insist on regular dental check-ups during your earlier working life.
If you’re a man aged in your fifties and sixties, it’s highly likely that you have some big old amalgam fillings. They probably have been doing a good job for years, but which now need replacing or some maintenance work. The good news is that modern dental technology and treatment makes it easier than ever to look after oral health for older men.
The materials used in dental clinics today are also vastly superior to those of 10, 15 or 20 years ago. And if you get some work done now, it’s likely to see you through to your nineties!
Just as importantly, preventive care can prevent nasty surprises such as a $10,000-plus bill years later when you retire. You do not want to dip into your superannuation savings for a toothache.
There’s every chance, as you approach retirement, that you have your children’s education under control and your finances in order. So now it’s time to get you in order—including your oral health.
You routinely go to a GP to check your cholesterol or other basic health issues. It’s also important to focus on your dental health.
Doing things properly now will reduce the prospect of any major issues in later years because of teeth problems. That will let you focus on skippering your yacht, or whatever other retirement activity takes your fancy.