There are a few things that start to happen as we get older. Some people notice their backs starting to ache, and it’s often harder to get a full night’s sleep. These are some routine side effects of getting older — and many people will notice differences in their oral health, too.
As you age, some things change in your mouth that may place you at a higher risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and missing teeth. But these side effects can be prevented. Learn more about oral health risks for seniors (and how to prevent them with your dentist in Vero Beach) below!
Oral Health Risks for Seniors
Following are some of the most common issues that may develop in older smiles.
Older adults are at a higher risk of having dry mouth due to certain medications that are often prescribed to seniors (especially those for cardiovascular health). Unfortunately, dry mouth is more than just uncomfortable — it also leaves you with bad breath and at a higher risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay, as there is no longer sufficient saliva to wash away plaque and bacteria buildup that threatens oral health.
Given the increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease that occurs with older age, senior patients have much higher chances of losing one or more teeth. In fact, according to the American Association of Endodontists, the majority of people over the age of 55 are missing at least one tooth.
Worn Dental Work
By the time you reach older age, you will likely have several old fillings and crowns — existing dental work that was used to arrest decay or restore damage years or even decades ago. No matter how well you have cared for these restorations, nothing lasts forever. Crowns, fillings, and bridges will eventually need to be replaced, and this often occurs during older age.
Oral cancer is cancer of the lips, cheeks, tongue, throat, or hard/soft palate of the mouth. The risk of developing this disease rises dramatically past the age of 55. Patients who smoke or use tobacco or who have a family history of cancer are at an especially high risk of developing oral cancer.
Keep Your Smile Healthy
Above are four of the most common oral health hazards for seniors — but the good news is that it is not too difficult to keep these issues from happening to you. To protect your smile as you age, remember to brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes, at least twice a day. Floss between teeth daily. And, for good measure, visit your Vero Beach dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning!
Aging smiles require a little extra TLC, but making yourself aware of the risks and how to prevent them can have a significant impact on your oral health as you age.
Meet the Practice
The Vero Implant and Esthetic Dentistry team offer excellence in dental care for patients of all ages. Dr. Adam Jones and Dr. Giuliana Diaz Jones firmly believe in prevention at all stages of life. To learn more about how to keep an aging smile healthy or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to contact the office at 772-234-5353.