Changes that naturally occur as you age can increase your risk of developing dental problems. Learning more about the problems that you will face and how to prevent them can help you keep your teeth, mouth, and gums healthy for many years to come.
Dry Mouth Occurs More as You Age
Dry mouth is a serious issue that many people experience as they get older. Sometimes dry mouth is caused by other health problems while other times it is a side effect that comes with taking certain medications. Regardless of the cause of dry mouth, it still puts you at risk for experiencing certain dental problems.
Dental problems, such as tooth decay, gingivitis, cavities, and mouth sores, can happen as a result of dry mouth. These problems happen because the mouth is unable to produce proper amounts of saliva. Saliva is needed to neutralize acids that can damage your teeth and to cleanse the mouth of bacteria. Without the proper amounts of saliva, the bacteria and acids stay in your mouth and eat away at your teeth or damage your gums.
If you suffer from dry mouth, there are several things you can do to protect yourself from experiencing certain dental problems. You can:
- Talk to your healthcare provider about possibly switching to a medication that may not cause dry mouth
- Staying properly hydrated
- Working closely with your dentist to discover ways to treat dry mouth, such as using a specialized mouthwash that is designed just for dry mouth
- Reducing the amount of acidic foods you consume
Increased Risk of Having Tooth Decay Destroy the Roots of Your Teeth
Gum recession is another issue that is common amongst seniors. Gum recession occurs when the gums in your mouth start to slowly recede. When gums recede they are no longer able to properly protect the enamel of your teeth. Without that protection, teeth are susceptible to tooth decay.
Seniors who experience gum recession need to be aware that they are at a greater risk of experiencing tooth decay than younger individuals. Seniors are at an increased risk of experiencing tooth decay because their teeth are softer. The softer makeup of the tooth makes it easier for tooth decay to develop and eventually wear away at the tooth’s enamel. Worn tooth enamel puts you at risk of experiencing cavities, tooth sensitivity, or even infection.
If you suffer from gum recession, you can protect your teeth tooth decay by making sure you brush and floss daily. It is important that you brush at least two times a day and floss your teeth once a day. It is also helpful if you use a prescription fluoride toothpaste as that can help strengthen the enamel on your teeth.
Make a Point to Schedule Regular Checkups with Your Dentist
The best way to avoid dental problems is to schedule regular checkups with your dentist. Regular routine examinations allow your dentist to monitor your oral health. If your dentist notices a problem, he or she can help you fix the problem either by making lifestyle changes or having dental work performed.
Some of the things that your dentist will look for during your regular checkup include:
- Tooth decay or cavities that may have developed around previous dental work. Cavities and tooth decay can start to form underneath fillings, crowns, and bridges.
- Gum recession
- Monitoring gum disease
- Tooth decay or signs of tooth decay
- Signs of improper brushing. Your dentist will look for areas where plaque or tartar is building up. This often shows that you will need to pay close attention to those areas when brushing as you tend to miss them
During a regular routine checkup, your dentist will usually perform a professional dental cleaning. A professional dental cleaning helps get rid of plaque or tartar that cannot be removed with regular brushing and flossing.
Ready schedule an appointment with a dentist? If so, give Cocoa Beach Family Dental a call. Our dentist understands the unique problems seniors face when it comes to dental care. Our dentist and dental staff offer a wide variety of dental services that will help to improve your oral health. Visit our website or call our office today to schedule an appointment to see our dentist.