Today’s older adults are keeping their teeth longer than ever. We used to believe that tooth loss was just a part of old age, and that preventing it was out of our power. We now understand that maintaining oral hygiene throughout life and a diet filled with healthy foods and nutrients can prevent many of us from ever even needing to consider dentures. Keeping your teeth into old age can help keep you feeling confident in eating and speaking, and your appearance. Educating yourself on the oral health concerns unique to people over 60 years of age and learning about caring for your teeth during this period in your life can help reduce your risk of ever needing dentures.
As you get older your risk for developing cavities will increase. You will experience a period where you are more susceptible to them the same way you did when you were younger. What causes this? Cavities in adults can most often be attributed to dry mouth. If you are experiencing dry mouth at this time in your life there is a large chance that it could be caused by a medication you are taking. Dry mouth is a very common side effect of many different medications including ones for asthma, high blood pressure and some allergy medications. If you identify with any of the following symptoms you might be suffering from dry mouth or xerostomia:
Difficulty speaking, tasting and swallowing.
Sores in the mouth or severely chapped lips.
Burning of the tongue or throat.
Ask your doctor if any of your medications could be causing your dry mouth, and about possible treatments that are right for you. There are several ways to address dry mouth including drinking more water, chewing sugar free gum and over the counter oral moisturizers.
Many adults also suffer from gum disease without knowing it. This is because gum disease often doesn’t cause a great amount of discomfort until it is in its final and most serious stages. Gum disease is serious and one of the major causes of tooth loss. If you are suffering from gum disease you may feel that your gums are sensitive and appear to be loose or pull away from the teeth. You can easily prevent gum disease by maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine and regularly visiting your dentist.
There will not come a time in your life when brushing and flossing will not be important or the keys to oral health. They’re always a must! Sometimes arthritis or other conditions make flossing difficult. In these cases you can always try a floss pick that easily slides in between teeth or a tiny brush variation that does the same. If you have a similar issue with brushing try an electric toothbrush. There’s no excuse to slack on oral hygiene and the consequences are worse than you’d like to think.
Making sure to regularly visit a dentist is just as important as attending to your oral health at home. When you do visit your dentist be sure to make them aware of any medications you are on or any other health issues you are having. You’d be surprised how much a dentist can do with this information. Oral health ties in very closely with your overall health and certain conditions put you at greater risk for oral health complications. A dentist can help you in preventing this.
Call Dr. D’Alfonso of Lakeway Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry today and schedule a free consultation!