While there are plenty of benefits to growing older, there are also challenges, especially with our bodies. Over the years our bodies change, and that includes our mouths. Just like with your physical health, as you get older you will have to pay special attention to your oral health. We are here to help you do that! Here are three issues to be aware of as you grow older with your teeth, and ways you can prevent or even solve the problems.
While in your younger years tooth decay is primarily caused by eating or drinking too much sugar or poor oral hygiene, as you get older, even if you are on a strict diet and practice excellent oral hygiene, you are still at higher risk for tooth decay. The main reason for this is dry mouth. Dry mouth is a condition where your mouth is not making enough saliva. Saliva plays an extremely important role in preventing tooth decay because it helps wash away germs and bacteria throughout the day. Without enough saliva, bacteria stays on the teeth and begins to cause decay.
The primary reason older people experience dry mouth is because of medications. As we get older, we inevitably have to start taking more medications, and often dry mouth is one of the side effects. Your dentist can not only help you identify and treat tooth decay, but she can also help you determine if you are suffering from dry mouth. There are several easy treatments you can try, and your dentist can help you walk through your options.
Gum recession happens when the tissue surrounding the tooth begins to wear away, exposing more of the tooth or the tooth’s root. It is often first detected because of tooth sensitivity or discomfort. Gum recession happens slowly over time, so it makes sense that the older you are, the more likely you are to have receding gums.
While you can’t reverse gum recession, you can slow it down. Brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing once a day, and visiting your dentist twice a year for a checkup and cleaning are all ways to prevent and slow down receding gums.
Whether we like it or not, one thing that comes with age is changes to our face. Decreased collagen results in wrinkles and sagging skin, as well as changes to our dental arches. Our aging mouths become narrower, and this causes an overcrowding of the teeth. When our teeth are overcrowded, basic dental hygiene becomes more challenging. It can be harder to brush all of our teeth thoroughly and to floss in hard-to-reach areas.
As your mouth changes with age, the best way to prevent problems is by visiting your dentist regularly. He will be able to identify potential problem areas and advise you on best practices.
While keeping your mouth healthy may become more challenging as you get older, it is still totally possible. In addition to practicing good oral hygiene, we hope you’ll make an appointment with us today so that we can help you keep your smile bright and healthy for many years to come!