Paying attention to your oral health is important at any age. There are unique dental health challenges that patient’s face at each stage of life. Practicing good dental hygiene habits is just as important for children as it is for senior adults. In fact, there are significant risk factors for gum disease and other dental health problems that aging adults need to be aware of.
Here are five leading concerns regarding seniors and their teeth:
As we get older, our gums will likely start to recede. This is part of the natural aging process. Teeth can become sensitive and even loose if gum recession gets severe. Maintain a daily flossing routine to slow the recession process and see your dentist for routine monitoring.
Your teeth may appear darker than they once did. This is in part due to a lifetime of consuming staining foods and drinks. However, it is also caused by the fact that the outer enamel layer of our teeth thins and wears down over time. In result, the inner dentin layer shows through, which is a darker, more yellow hue.
A reduction in saliva flow is very common in senior adults. Dry mouth can be caused by an underlying disease or medication you are taking. Regardless, dry mouth needs to be addressed for the sake of your oral health. Your teeth need adequate saliva production to wash away harmful bacteria and food debris as well as neutralize acids in your mouth.
Many of the top culprits to gum disease are unfortunately those that commonly plague older adults. Gum disease can be triggered by the use of tobacco products, poor-fitting bridges and dentures, poor diets and certain diseases, such as anemia, cancer and diabetes. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to progressive gum recession, tooth loss and overall health threats.
Not replacing missing teeth causes a chain of unwanted events. Not only do the adjacent teeth shift out of position, but the underlying bone structure is lost when there is no tooth root to stimulate the bone and retain its density. The resorption of jawbone from missing teeth leads to premature facial aging, or a sunken appearance within the jaw. Dental implants are the only way to replace both the tooth and tooth root to prevent bone loss.
If you are an aging adult, there are ways to combat your oral health concerns. Taking proper care of your teeth and gums is your best defense. If brushing and flossing is becoming more difficult as you age, don’t hesitate to ask about the latest oral hygiene tools that can help those with limited dexterity and coordination, including electric toothbrushes and water flossers. At Gainesville Dental Group, we care about your smile through all phases of life!
Posted on behalf of Gainesville Dental Group