Top Dental Concerns as You Age

Top Dental Concerns as You Age

The body undergoes many changes during the course of one’s life. As we age, our bodies break down, leading to many aches and pains. The teeth and gums aren’t immune to becoming weaker through years of wear and tear. As one gets older, oral health care becomes more important as one’s mouth becomes more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease.

Whether one is old or young, below are some of the top dental concerns one should be aware of:

Cavities

Everyone is at risk for cavities regardless of age. However, young children and seniors are at the greatest risk as their teeth are either still developing or are naturally weakening. For young children, sealants are recommended to help protect their primary teeth.

Gingivitis

This low-level form of gum disease is fairly common among adults. Fortunately, gingivitis can be treated and the damage reversed.

Older Patients

Some of the top dental concerns for older patients include:

Dry Mouth

As we age, our saliva glands begin to slow down production. Saliva is the body’s naturally produced mouthwash. It washes debris from the surface of and gaps between teeth. It also moistens the surface of teeth and gums, making it more difficult for plaque and tartar to attach. When one’s mouth is dry, there is a better environment in which bacteria and debris left from food and drinks to decay and lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Seniors are especially prone to dry mouth due to it being one of the most common side effects of many medications.

Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)

Though low-level gum disease, gingivitis is fairly common among adults, a smaller percentage, mainly older patients have the severe form of gum disease, periodontal disease, or periodontitis. Unlike gingivitis, periodontal disease can’t be easily treated nor can the damage be reversed. It is this kind of gum disease that can lead to tooth loss and jaw bone damage.

Flossing and regular visits to the dentist for periodontal screenings and treatment are important to one’s gum health. As one ages, keeping up with proper gum care can become a challenge. Seniors who have mobility and dexterity issues caused by arthritis can have great trouble in flossing between their teeth. The inadequate care of their gum disease and tooth decay has forced some seniors to get dentures. Gum disease, if not treated can lead to tooth loss as well as the weakening and damaging of the jawbone tissue. A weakened jaw may lead to additional tooth loss, pain and discomfort which can make eating and speaking.

Tooth Decay

The many years of clenching, grinding, biting and chewing can take a toll on one’s teeth. The lifelong use of one’s teeth can subject them to cracked, broken or chipped tooth enamel which can leave the tooth vulnerable and not as strong to resist cavity-causing bacteria and plaque. As we age, it becomes more important to regularly floss and brush one’s teeth to protect them.

When tooth enamel get compromised germs and bacteria can infiltrate into the sensitive inner parts of the tooth. Unchecked tooth decay can lead to a tooth extraction, a tooth abscess and the need for more intensive dental treatments like root canals.

Staying up on one’s dental care becomes even more important as one ages. Like our bodies, our teeth and gums get worn out, which make them more likely to become diseased or decayed. The wear and tear of a lifetime of use on the teeth and gums can lead to the destruction of the tooth enamel as well the delicate gum tissue. As one ages, it becomes more difficult to properly care for one’s teeth and gums.  Additionally, dry mouth makes matters worse by allowing a favorable environment in which bacteria and plaque can grow.

Whether you’re older or you have a young child and are need of dental care, Lincoln Dental Associates offers family dentistry in Lincoln NE with a wide range of dental services, from the oldest member to the youngest. Regular six-month checkups are highly important in preventing premature tooth loss and other oral health problems in the future. Contact us today to schedule an appointment if it has been longer than six months since your last dental cleaning and check-up.

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