Oral health is vital regardless of your age. However, it follows the natural order of things that as you age, oral health becomes an even more important consideration. As the human body grows in age, several changes take place. Muscles becomes weaker, joints might feel painful and movement might become slower. This is simply the process of aging and degeneration. When it comes to oral health, the same changes take place. Where once you could bite through the toughest nuts and raw veggies, you may find yourself struggling with softer foods. Understanding what is happening behind the scenes is the first step towards ensuring good oral health in your sunset years.
Dry Mouth – A Common Oral Health Problem
Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth is a condition experienced when the salivary glands are sleeping on the job. This could be occasioned by medication, hormonal changes or even infections. Saliva plays an important role in ensuring your mouth is moist enough and in the facilitation of digestion. Saliva also washes away bacteria and protects you against bad breath. In the absence of saliva, you are likely to have problems with your breath and might even have tooth decay. Unfortunately for many seniors, being on certain types of medication means that their saliva production is inhibited. The end result is that a significant number of seniors end up with dry mouth.
Bad Breath – The Confidence Breaker
Bad breath can make social interactions really awkward, much to the detriment of the seniors. Not many people want to be around or have intimate chats with someone who has bad breath. Unfortunately, seniors are predisposed to bad breath because of many reasons, one of which is dry mouth as mentioned earlier. Seniors also tend to be good candidates for periodontal or gum disease, which may lead to bad breath when left untreated for a long time. At the same time, bad breath could be as a result of poor oral hygiene. As you age, you tend to become more forgetful and it is not uncommon for seniors to forget to brush their teeth. When this happens, the end result announces itself whenever one sets out to speak among a group of people. If you are struggling with forgetfulness, you can make a to-do list to help you check off activities that you need to get done every day. Remember also that dentures need to be cleaned with the same regularity as natural teeth, otherwise they will begin to stink.
Teeth Loss – No More Sparkly Smile
Most people lose a tooth or two somewhere in their lifetime. As you grow older, your risk of tooth loss increases. This is attributable to lifestyle choices and the aging process. As a senior, you have a very high chance of saying goodbye to all your teeth, especially if you love smoking a lot and do not really care about brushing and flossing properly. The most effective way to prevent tooth loss is to practice recommended oral hygiene practices, which include visiting your dentist as often as required for check-up. In case you lose your teeth in unforeseen circumstances such as an accident, consult with your dentist on what options are available for you so that you can restore the normal function of your mouth.
Decay and Cavities – Inevitable Over the Years
Cavities can become a crisis in your oral life, especially if you have a sweet tooth and cannot seem to stay away from the sugary stuff. Prolonged exposure to sugary foods can lead to tooth decay and cavities, especially when this exposure is not followed up with proper brushing and flossing. While it might be hard to do away with sugary snacks especially if you have been used to them all your life, the least you can do is practice topnotch dental hygiene to protect yourself. Always brush your teeth and floss properly after engaging in your sweet indulgences. An antiseptic mouthwash will keep the bacteria away, and thus protect your mouth from cavities.
Inadequate Denture Care – A Habit Problem
Dentures are the good news that everyone who has lost their teeth needs. Unfortunately for many people, there’s a misconception that dentures do not need as much care as real teeth do. The truth of the matter is that dentures will ultimately get the same problems as real teeth would if they are not taken care of. For instance, plaque has been known to build up when dentures go for a long time without proper cleaning. When this happens, your gum is likely to become irritated and you might also end up with gum disease.
The best way to care for your dentures is to remove them after every meal for a quick rinse. Every evening, brush your dentures as you would your teeth and place them in a cleaning solution overnight. Don’t forget to clean your gums gently as well with a soft toothbrush.
Gum Disease – The Main Threat to Your Oral Health
Gum disease is one of those conditions that takes long to develop, and as such might go undetected for a long time until it is too late. This is why gum disease, also known as periodontitis, tends to be more prevalent in the older population. The best way to combat gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene, and to see your dentist regularly. At Lancaster Dental, located in Kitchener, we encourage our patients to take measures to prevent gum disease as it is always better and easier to prevent than to treat. We also recommend visiting our dentists at least twice per year for regular checkup.
Teeth Discoloration – Unsightly and Unacceptable
As you age, some occurrences become inevitable. For instance, you might find yourself moving slower than you did in your twenties. Staying up all night becomes impossible and a wild night is just two hours of bingo and a nap. Something else that happens inevitably as you age is teeth discoloration. Your teeth will not be as white as they used to be when you were a young thirty-something. Even with proper dental care, there still will be some difference.
If you are unhappy with how your teeth look, our dentists at Lancaster Dental are happy to discuss some options with you, including veneers and teeth whitening. We also recommend staying away from tobacco and coffee, as these are major culprits when it comes to staining of teeth.
While all these challenges listed above will be very real as you age, it is important to note that it is not all doom and gloom. With the right care from our Kitchener Dental Office and adequate effort on your end, you can still enjoy a beautiful smile well into your golden years. The best thing about teeth is that they respond to proper care. When well taken care of, teeth will serve you for a good long time, which is exactly what you want when you are walking into the sunset.
Call Us Today to Schedule an Appointment for Complete Dental Checkup at 519-578-9670