Oral health is important, no matter what age you happen to be. Older adults are at risk for the development of dental issues due to the fact that teeth and gums have been subjected to more wear and tear. Conditions that could develop as a result of declining health and a reduced ability to care for teeth and gums are:
Dry mouth. As the body ages, we naturally produce less saliva than we did when we were younger. Certain medications can also contribute to the development of dry mouth. Dry mouth becomes a problem when saliva cannot neutralize harmful acids and sugars that are left behind from food, and they remain on teeth longer. Decay develops more easily when this residue cannot be dealt with in a timely manner. Doing what you can to keep your mouth and your body hydrated will help to reduce the incidence of disease and decay.
Attrition. Over time, even the strongest of teeth can wear down to almost nothing; years of chewing and grinding against one another cause enamel to wear down and biting surfaces to smooth over. As enamel wears thin, the risk for decay and degeneration increases.
Periodontal disease. Over time, periodontal disease, oral cancer, and other illnesses can develop in the mouth. Other less severe conditions such as thrush, or an overgrowth of yeast, can present chronic problems as well. If left unchecked, these oral diseases can wreak havoc on other areas of the body as well, causing dire consequences.
Root decay. Often a byproduct of gum disease, root decay occurs when gum tissue recedes, and the roots become exposed in the mouth. This degeneration of tissue can lead to loss of both teeth and bone tissue, having a significant impact on oral health.
What to do?
The previous conditions are not a certainty, but you are at risk for the development of additional dental issues if you are age 50 and over. Staying proactive when caring for your teeth will help to prevent some of these issues from occurring and keep your mouth vibrant and healthy well into your golden years. Follow these tips for proper care and maintenance of older teeth:
Increase the level of fluoridation in your toothpaste, tooth rinse, and mouthwash. Fluoride prevents the buildup of harmful plaque, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Finding products with ADA certified levels of fluoride will help to protect teeth and keep them clean.
Avoid tobacco use. Tobacco use has been linked to the development of gum disease and oral cancers. If you have any form of tobacco habit, it’s time to kick the habit to protect the health of your teeth and gums.
Increase oral hydration. Be aware of any medications that may contribute to overall dehydration, and work to counteract this dryness by drinking plenty of water during the day, chewing sugar-free gum (studies point to xylitol as helpful in reducing decay), and abstaining from alcohol, which dehydrates the body as well.
Use an antibacterial mouthwash. When mouthwash is used in combination with brushing and flossing, it can reduce the buildup of plaque by as much as 40 percent.
Good oral health can be for everyone
It is possible to have healthy gums and teeth, no matter what your age. Being diligent about caring for your mouth at home and keeping regular appointments with your dentist will ensure that you remain strong and healthy well into your golden years.
Make an appointment with us today!
Dr. Gordon E. Krueger, DDS, MS, PA, has over twenty years of experience in diagnosing, treating, and even preventing the development of oral disease and decay. He is passionate about oral health, and he would love to help you regain your brightest and best smile. Cutting edge technologies, an emphasis on individual care, and commitment to excellence in service will help you uncover your most brilliant smile. Make an appointment with us today; visit https://www.gordonekruegerdds.com today for more information.