If you've reached your golden years, you need to pay close attention to your teeth. The aging mouth is susceptible to a variety of dental problems. If you don't schedule semi-annual dental visits, you're putting your teeth at risk for serious dental problems. Here are several of the dental problems you could face now that you're in the later years of your life.
1. Dry Mouth
If you suffer from dry mouth on a regular basis, talk to your dentist. Occasional bouts of dry mouth are a normal occurrence. However, frequent bouts of dry mouth leave you susceptible to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Several causes for dry mouth frequently occur during the latter stages of life, including medication, reduced saliva production, and certain medical conditions.
2. Gum Disease
Gum disease affects people of all ages. However, the disease becomes more prevalent the older you get. Gum disease is caused by a variety of issues, including poor dental hygiene, decreased circulation and blood flow to the gums, improperly fitting dentures, and smoking. If you develop red swollen gums, or you have a puslike discharge from around your gums, you need to seek dental care as soon as possible. Without proper dental care, gum disease can progress into more serious health issues.
3. Root Decay
As you age, your gums begin to recede. Once your roots are exposed, they're at an increased risk for decay. That's because roots don't have a protective layer of enamel to prevent decay and cavities. Root decay spreads faster than other types of oral decay, which puts your entire mouth at risk for dental problems, especially if you don't have proper dental care.
To reduce your risk for age-related root decay, brush your teeth at least twice a day, cut back on the unhealthy carbohydrates, and see your dentist twice a year.
4. Tooth Loss
If you're over the age of 65, you're at an increased risk for tooth loss. In fact, over 27% of the adult population in the United States have no remaining permanent teeth. Some tooth loss can be attributed to gum disease, which is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States.
If your teeth have shifted from their natural position, or you have developed loose teeth, seek dental care right away. With proper treatment, your dentist can reduce your risk of tooth loss.
5. Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is another serious health risk that affects the older population of the United States. Most cases of oral cancer occur in people over the age of 40. However, the average age of diagnosis is around the age of 60. Some signs of oral cancer include sores inside your mouth, bad breath, and swollen lymph nodes in your neck.
Semi-annual visits to your dentist help with the diagnosis of oral cancers. In addition to your age, if you smoke, you increase your risk of developing oral cancer.
If you wear dentures, you're at risk for a dental condition known as stomatitis. Stomatitis is usually caused by an increased production of yeast in the mouth. The mucus membrane under your dentures becomes inflamed, which leads to painful sores and irritation.
The best way to combat denture-related stomatitis is to practice good oral hygiene, take your dentures out at night, and visit your dentist twice a year. Proper dental hygiene helps your teeth and mouth to remain as healthy as possible.
Now that you've entered your senior years, your teeth need additional care and attention. Contact us at Steckbeck Family Dentistry today. We're here to care for all your oral health needs.