Overtime, we naturally become more concerned about our overall health. This typically means more checkups and trips to the dentist. So what does aging do to our oral health?
As we get older the nerves in our teeth become smaller. This means they are less sensitive to dental problems like cavities and gum disease. It can make it very difficult to identify these problems early on in older patients. If you don’t visit your dentist regularly, these problems can go undetected until more serious problems occur.
So, what should we do if you want to maintain a healthy smile as we age? Here are some important tips and information to help:
Common dental problems in older patients
- Pulpitis: Cavities and an older age put us at higher risk of tooth pulp infection. This is generally fixed with root canal therapy. However, if it’s left untreated it can result in tooth loss.
- Gum disease: One of the most common issues we see in patients of all ages. Gum disease often goes unnoticed until it’s too advanced and needs serious help. Gum disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. This exposes them and allows bacteria to accumulate below the gum line. Overtime, it leads to serious infections such as periodontitis.
- Tooth loss: When gum disease and cavities become too advanced, they typically lead to tooth loss and in worse cases… bone loss. You might need an implant-supported prosthetics or a denture to replace your missing teeth, if not treated early
Tips on how to maintain our oral health
1. Regular dental checkups
One of the most common and important procedures to have done at the dentist is a regular checkup. They also help to deal with costly problems that could appear as we age.
Additionally, having a professional cleaning and exam twice a year will help both prevent potential problems from occurring in the first place and treat existing issues. This simple procedure can potentially save us hundreds or even thousands overtime.
2. Healthier oral habits
To keep your mouth healthy as you age, you should:
- Brush at least twice a day with a soft bristle tooth brush.
- Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated and to help remove acidic or sugary foods left behind.
- Floss at least once a day. Preferably after your last meal.
3. Diet and food choices
- We know its difficult but try to limit coffee and sodas. They cause erosion of your enamel.
- Replace foods that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. These include cookies, candy, cakes, and pies. Sugar weakens teeth and makes them more prone to cavities.
- Eat vegetables and fruits as often as possible. Especially ones that contain antioxidants.
4. Tobacco use
We wont stop saying it: smoking is terrible for you! It puts you at a much greater risk for many types of oral cancer and may increase the chance of gum disease. Smoking also increases the rate at which your teeth decay. This causes more tooth loss over time.
The sooner you stop, the better your mouth and overall health will be!
Secret to healthy teeth as we age
Many think that losing your teeth is a natural part of aging, but that’s not completely true. Many of our patient keep their smile by following our simple dental care habits.
If you want to learn more about how to take the best care of your teeth and enjoy a healthy smile for many years, our team at Dr. Drake DDS and associates is here to help. Call now at (386) 673-1611 or book an appointment online.