I am proud to say that I have all my own teeth at the age of 65. While that may not sound unusual to some people, everyone in my family who is my age or older wears dentures. I always tell people that that flossing is the key to good dental health. I have arthritis in my hands, but I don't let it keep me from flossing every day. My trick is to use those little "flossers" you can buy at the drug store. They have plastic handles floss stretched out on top of the handle. These make flossing easier on days when my arthritis is acting up. I started this blog to let other people know that they can keep their teeth healthy into old age when they take care of them. If you have hand pain, find ways to make flossing easier, like I did.
It's normal for the body to change as it ages. Older people need to be more mindful of their health in order to prevent serious medical problems. It's also important to monitor oral health as you get older.
The quality of your oral health is directly tied to your overall health. Be mindful of the following three dental conditions that can become more prevalent as you age so that you can better care for yourself in the future.
1. Dry Mouth
Saliva plays an important role in helping you maintain your oral health. Saliva is responsible for keeping your mouth moist, fighting germs and bacteria, and initiating the digestion process. However, saliva production naturally decreases as you age, and certain prescription medications can accelerate this decrease. Dry mouth can open the door for a host of other oral problems.
Be sure that you work closely with your dentist to monitor saliva production and combat dry mouth as you age.
You may be at higher risk of developing cavities as you age. The outer coating of enamel that protects your teeth becomes worn and weak with age. As such, enamel deterioration, combined with the effects of dry mouth, can increase your risk of developing a cavity. Even individuals who rarely experience cavities in their youth can find that cavities start appearing more often in their older years.
You will need to be vigilant with brushing and flossing throughout your senior years. You will also need to schedule routine check-ups so that your dentist can spot cavities before they can grow into more serious oral health risks.
3. Gum Disease
Swollen, red, and tender gums are a tell-tale sign of gum disease. Gum disease is one of the most detrimental oral conditions you can develop as you age. In fact, gum disease has been linked to health conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Statistics show that 2 out of every 3 people over the age of 65 have gum disease.
You will need to visit your dentist often to monitor your oral health. If you do develop gum disease, your dentist can perform deep cleanings that will help reverse the negative effects of this dental condition.
Don't let your oral health lapse in your later years. Regular dental care is vital to the ongoing health of your teeth and gums as you age. This care will help you avoid the negative effects of dry mouth, cavities, and gum disease in the future. To learn more, contact a dentist.