As with younger people, a strong oral hygiene routine is vital to keeping teeth strong and smiles bright as we age. That said, there are a number of conditions that older people should be aware of when it comes to oral health.
We all want our smile to look bright and healthy, regardless of how old we are. Here are a few conditions you need to be aware of, and some actions you can take to help prevent oral health problems from occurring as you age.
Dry mouth is a relatively common condition in which the salivary glands don't make sufficient saliva to keep your mouth wet. Dry mouth can be caused by radiation therapy to the head or neck, or by some medications.
The risk of tooth decay increases in individuals who suffer from dry mouth.
If you suffer from dry mouth, speak to your dentist. Your dentist can suggest strategies to help you deal with dry mouth and protect your teeth from tooth decay.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Periodontal disease can progress slowly and gradually, causing damage without you even knowing. Untreated periodontal disease can damage you gums and jawbone leading to loose teeth or even loss of teeth.
Periodontal disease has also been linked to a number of health conditions including heart disease, stroke, respiratory problems and diabetes.
Some signs of periodontal disease that you should look out for include:
- tender or swollen gums
- receding gums
- loose teeth
- bite changes
- changes in the way dentures fit
- bad breath
- bad taste in the mouth
Be sure to make an appointment to visit your dentist if you have any of the symptoms above.
A good oral health routine of brushing thoroughly twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings twice yearly, help fight periodontal disease.
A healthy mouth can help to protect your overall health!
Smoking can stain teeth like nothing else, often turning teeth yellow or even brown. If you want to help keep your teeth white, quitting smoking and visiting your dentist for regular cleanings will go a long way.
It's important to note that adults who smoke or chew tobacco have an increased risk of developing oral cancer. Oral cancer can be difficult to detect in its early stages. Quitting tobacco and getting regular screenings for oral cancer are key to protecting your overall health as well as your oral health.
Restoring a Healthy Smile
If your smile isn't as healthy and bright as you would like there are a number of restorative treatments available from your dentist. Veneers, dental bonding, crowns and bridges are all available to help restore your mouth's function and appearance.