Common Dental Problems for People Over 50
Thanks to advances in dental care, people are keeping their natural teeth longer than ever. But with this increased longevity comes an increased incidence of dental problems as people age. Here are five problems that are increasing in frequency for seniors.
As you age, your tooth roots become softer and your gums recede, leading to more cavities. Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, and consider adding a fluoride rinse for added protection.
Red, swollen gums that bleed easily are a sign of gingivitis. If not treated, this condition can progress and cause the loss of gum tissue and bone, and eventually the loss of teeth. A tooth implant may also not be an option for you if you have gum disease. If you have it, get it treated. To prevent it, brush and floss thoroughly and visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings.
Saliva is an integral part of protecting our mouth from bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease. A lack of it gives bacteria free reign of our teeth and gums, so it is no wonder that those with dry mouth have a higher incidence of gum disease and tooth decay. To increase saliva, try chewing sugar-free gum. Drinking water may also help. Or ask your dentist for a saliva substitute.
Teeth shift over time, and this shifting can cause overcrowding. Crowding can damage teeth and surrounding bone. In addition, more difficulty cleaning means a higher risk of decay and gum disease. If shifting teeth are causing problems, orthodontics can help. At the very least, get your teeth professionally cleaned more often.
The incidence of oral cancer increases with age, and only about half of people with it survive. Early detection is key. Your dentist should include an oral cancer check with your oral exam.
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