As you grow older, your mind may be preoccupied with the health of your bones, heart, or brain. However, keeping your teeth healthy is an equally important part of the aging process. Older adults are at an increased risk for a variety of oral health conditions, which makes it essential for every patient to speak with your dentist to create a prevention plan that's best for you!
ORAL HEALTH CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH AGING
Just as the rest of your body continues to change as you age, your mouth changes, too. Certain conditions become more likely to develop as you reach older adulthood, including:
- DRY MOUTH. Although your salivary glands continue to produce saliva as you become older, medications and chronic health problems often cause a dry mouth.
- ROOT DECAY. Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime, but improper nutrition or cleaning may lead to decay at the roots of your teeth.
- DIMINISHED SENSE OF TASTE. Your eyesight and hearing are not the only senses affected by aging. The ability to taste naturally diminishes over the course of the older adulthood.
- TISSUE INFLAMMATION. Are your gums tender, bleeding, or inflamed? Tissue inflammation may indicate gum disease or may be a consequence of wearing dentures that don't fit well.
- ORAL CANCER. Risk for most cancers increases with age, and oral cancer is no exception. Older adults area at increased risk for oral cancer compared to younger individuals.
WAYS TO PREVENT DENTAL PROBLEMS
- DIET. Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables. Choosing water over coffee or soda can keep your teeth whiter and cavity-free. Also, remember that two minute twice daily brushing and flossing are essential habits to prevent cavities and gum diease at any age.
- REGULAR DENTAL VISITS. Visiting the dentist twice a year is vitally important when you reach older adulthood. Your dentist is familiar with your oral health and may be the first person to notice a sore, discolored patch, inflammation, or other abnormality that may indicate oral cancer or gum disease.