Like the rest of your body, your teeth and gums change with time. And while proactive dental care is important at every stage of life, such efforts are especially important during older age, when bothersome symptoms crop up.
At Lancaster Dental Care Associates in Lancaster, California, our experts provide preventive care, education, and treatments to help keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible throughout your golden years.
Let’s delve into several common dental concerns every senior should stay mindful of.
Dry mouth issues
A variety of age-related factors can lead to dry mouth, also known as xerostomia. Seniors are more prone to dehydration, for example, which can fuel reduced salivation and can leave your mouth dry.
Medications, such as certain antidepressants and antihistamines, and chronic conditions, like diabetes and nerve damage, also cause dry mouth.
Once dry mouth sets in, you hold a heightened risk for tooth sensitivity, tooth decay, cavities, and fungal infections, given that sufficient saliva promotes bacterial balance.
Root decay and infection
Many age-related factors that fuel dry mouth are linked with root decay as well. Taking certain medications, having diabetes, and eating a poor diet can lead to this type of root damage, making way for infections and the need for a root canal.
You may also be vulnerable to root problems due to accumulative effects of decades of poor brushing and flossing habits. In other cases, hand or wrist pain from arthritis makes brushing and flossing well difficult.
Root infections can also stem from cracks or loosening of old bridges and crowns. When a crown that needs to be replaced stays in place, for example, bacteria can easily get trapped around the tooth’s root. If that bacteria causes a pulp infection, you’ll need a root canal.
Your risk of gum disease increases with age. While close to half of adults in their 30s have a form of the disease, that number leaps to over 70% from age 65 on.
Gum disease happens when bacteria gets trapped between your teeth and gums. If that bacteria remains, it turns into plaque and then tartar. And you can’t remove tartar by home techniques.
Without treatment, gum disease can lead to bone loss surrounding your teeth and tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.
Preventing and managing age-related dental concerns
Positive dental hygiene habits — such as brushing and flossing well daily — and routine dental cleanings and exams are your best bets for staying on top of your dental health.
If you need to have a tooth replaced due to age-related damage, we provide numerous effective options, including dental implants. We also treat gum disease with laser dentistry, to increase your odds of keeping your teeth.
To help you feel more confident about your smile, we offer cosmetic treatments, such as teeth whitening and veneers.
To learn more about dental care for seniors or to get on the path to better oral health, call us at Lancaster Dental Care Associates or request an appointment through this website.