As we age, keeping up with our oral health becomes more important. For adults over the age of 50, there are specific dental concerns that people should be aware of. To keep a healthy smile well into the golden years, here are 5 dental concerns commonly seen in people over 50.
1. Decay – As we grow older, we also grow more susceptible to the issues surrounding tooth decay. Our teeth go through a long life of use, and it’s this frequent use over several decades that can cause our teeth to be at a higher risk of decay. Even for those who never had tooth decay issues in the past, those over 50 may find that cavities are popping up more often than before. The roots of our teeth also become softer and more exposed to bacteria, which can lead to more serious cavities than any we may have experienced in our youth. To address these dental concerns, use a fluoride-based toothpaste and schedule frequent preventive trips to your local TenderCare Dental to help protect your teeth from decay at any age.
2. Dry mouth – Many medications cause dry mouth, and dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a big dental concern for those over the age of 50. Saliva does us a whole lot of good in the form of bringing minerals to the surface of the teeth and washing away food particles and bacteria, so a lack of saliva can negatively affect the surfaces of your teeth. There are multiple kinds of chewing gum and mouthwashes that promote saliva production which can help to alleviate dry mouth and its subsequent effect on tooth surfaces.
3. Shifting – Teeth can shift all throughout life. If you have a slightly off-center tooth as a young person, that tooth may continue to shift as you age which can cause a major dental concern. This tooth shifting can lead to big problems with being able to effectively clean teeth, as well as problems with bite, speech, or gum erosion. Shifting can be monitored with regular visits to your dentist, helping to stop any problems caused by shifting before they become serious.
4. Oral cancer – Over 40,000 people in the US are diagnosed with some form of oral cancer each year. As a person ages, their risk for oral cancer increases. Keeping up a healthy oral routine that includes brushing and flossing twice a day and at least two dentist visits per year are the best preventative measures to avoid an oral cancer diagnosis.
5. Gum disease – Gum disease can affect people at any age, but it becomes more of a concern as our teeth age. If swelling, pain, or bleeding from the gum line is a frequent occurrence, this could be an early sign of gingivitis, or of its more advanced form known as periodontal disease. When gone untreated, gum disease can cause the erosion of both gum and bone, which can lead to tooth loss.
If you’re interested in making sure your smile stays bright at any age, make an appointment with your local Tendercare Dentist!