Aging doesn’t have to slow you down. But it may mean you need to pay more attention to your physical health, including the condition of your teeth. As you age your dental health may start to decline a bit, which is completely normal. A little extra maintenance and care can go a long way.
Here are some of the common dental problems you may face as you age.
Increased Risk of Cavities
Just as your bones can weaken as you age, your teeth may gradually weaken also. Over time, even with proper dental care, tooth enamel naturally wears down making your teeth more susceptible to cavities. Acidic foods and a lifetime of biting and chewing take their toll on your teeth. Gums recede over time as well, exposing the softer roots of your teeth that can more easily decay.
These are all reasons your risk of cavities increases as you age. It is important to visit the dentist regularly and follow proper dental hygiene at home, now more than ever.
Another of the common dental problems that come with aging is dry mouth. Dry mouth can result from certain medications you may be taking. Medication for high blood pressure, cholesterol, asthma, allergies, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s are some of the most common ones that can cause dry mouth. Adequate saliva is necessary to naturally rinse teeth and keep the bacteria levels consistent in your mouth.
If you suffer from dry mouth, it’s important to talk to your dentist about it and tell them all of the medications you’re taking. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, use an oral moisturizing spray or mouthwash, and chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production. You could even use a humidifier when the air is dry. Your dentist may recommend an adjustment in your medication or dosage and apply a fluoride treatment after your regular cleanings.
Bacteria in the mouth can infect the gums, causing gum disease. Gum disease is more common in older adults because it is often painless and aging causes nerve endings to be less sensitive in the mouth. Once you feel the effects of gum disease, it may already be advanced. The good news is that gum disease is easily treated and prevented with proper dental care and regular visits to your dentist.
As you age your risk of developing oral cancer increases. This is another reason it is crucial to visit your dentist on a twice yearly schedule. Your dentist will carefully screen you for oral cancer as part of your routine dental exam. Mouth cancer is often painless and patients are not aware that they have it until it is detected by a dentist. When detected early, oral cancer has a high survival rate. It often appears as red or white patches on the inside of your cheeks or lips or on your tongue. Tell your dentist right away if you notice any suspicious spots.
Deterioration of Existing Dental Work
Another common dental issue that comes with age is problems with old dental work. If you have a cavity that was filled many years ago, the filling may fall out or need to be replaced. Crowns or bridges can sometimes loosen and need to be refitted. Your dentist may recognize dental work that needs to be replaced before it falls out or causes a problem during a routine cleaning.
Savannah Dental Solutions Provides Oral Care for Seniors
At Savannah Dental Solutions we understand the increased risk of dental issues in older adults. Through our adult dentistry services, we take care to look for the common dental problems seniors face so that we can be proactive in treating them in order to minimize discomfort and long term effects.
Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you maintain your dental health as you age.