Work With Your Dentist to Plan for Good Oral Health With Age

Posted on: January 7, 2015


As a local dentist, we find that as people age their teeth and gums are at an increased risk of getting cavities or an infection.  Simultaneously, many people make the mistake of thinking that they no longer have to focus on oral health as they get older.  This is certainly not the case, as the mouth can be at a greater risk for health issues just like the rest of the body can with age.  For example, women, in particular, are at a risk of osteoporosis as they age.  Teeth are also made of calcium and minerals so if the bones are becoming weaker, the teeth are likely getting weaker as well. Likewise, there is a link between heart disease and poor oral health so while we don’t know if one causes the other, it is wise to keep teeth healthy to prevent furthering the risk of developing a heart condition.

In our dental office, we encourage patients to have their teeth cleaned twice a year in order to prevent many common oral health issues.  This becomes increasingly important with age as older people are at a greater risk of experiencing tooth sensitivity.  The outer layer of the tooth is made of enamel.  This strong material serves to protect the porous dentin underneath, and if it is eroded, teeth will become sensitive.  The risk of this increases with age simply because enamel is not designed to last forever, especially without comprehensive, ongoing dental care.

You can work to prevent erosion and thereby tooth sensitivity by taking some preventative measures.  In addition to having your teeth regularly cleaned at our dentist office, you should be careful to avoid aggressive brushing at home.  A hard toothbrush, or one that is used aggressively, can speed up the erosion process, making it difficult to maintain strong teeth.  Switching to an electric toothbrush or a soft one can help to preserve your enamel as can brushing with fluoride toothpaste.  Since fluoride is a mineral, it can work to physically strengthen your teeth and prevent the occurrence of cavities in addition to preventing the discomfort that can come from tooth sensitivity.

Another problem people tend to struggle with is tooth loss. The older that you get, the greater the risk of losing one or all of your teeth.  With ongoing dental care, this is becoming less of an issue but still, the majority of adults will lose at least one tooth in their lifetime.  We urge you to have a lost tooth replaced right away.  You can do so using a dental bridge, dental implants, or dentures.  Doing so will preserve the shape of your face and jaw.  Otherwise, the actual palate of your mouth can start to shrink, and as it changes size, your appearance can begin to look sunken.  If you already have dentures and your palate starts to shrink, it could make them stop fitting correctly.  We advise brining any dentures or oral appliances to your dental exams so that we can ensure they are continuing to fit correctly.

As a local dentist, we can help you to stay healthy both now and in the future.  Call today to schedule your consultation.

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