Dental Concerns for People Over 50

As we age, our bodies change in addition to the way we look. Our hair can turn gray, and we might even develop a few wrinkles with our wisdom. According to the American Dental Association, the average number of people keeping their natural teeth into older age is increasing. However, there are still certain concerns and steps you can take to pay special attention to your teeth as you age.

Cavities          

Even as you age, you are still susceptible to cavities. Cavities can show up on the surfaces of teeth that have never been a problem before, or you can get them around old fillings or the root of your tooth. The American Dental Association states that as you age, the root of your tooth becomes softer, and can be more vulnerable to decay and bacteria.

What should you do?  If you are part of the near 80% of Americans who drink water with fluoride in it, this is good enough in addition to brushing and flossing the recommended times per day, and having a dental exam every six months. If not, add a daily fluoride rinse to your daily dental care routine.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can actually be a cause of cavities in older adults. With this uncomfortable condition as a side effect of over 500 medications, it can be hard to escape. Make an appointment for a consultation, and we will help by making some recommendations for you, which may include:

  • Drinking water more frequently
  • Chewing sugar-free gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production
  • Using a humidifier at home to add more moisture to the air
  • Avoid foods and beverages that
  • User over-the-counter oral moisturizers

If none of these work, perhaps you may need to consult your physician on other medication options

Gum Disease

Gum or Periodontal disease is caused by the bacteria in plaque, which can irritate and inflame gums. Symptoms of gum disease include swelling, red or bleeding gums. Often, signs go unnoticed until gum disease is in an advanced stage, which if left untreated, gums can pull away from teeth and create spaces called pockets where food particles and plaque may collect. This can destroy the gums, bone and ligaments supporting the teeth and can lead to gum loss.

To prevent gum disease, it’s an easy fix to see the dentist regularly, brush twice or more daily, and floss once per day. If you notice any signs of gum disease, please contact out office here to schedule a consultation.

shutterstock_191999723Tooth Crowding

As we age, our teeth shift. This can cause you not only to look different, but it can make your teeth more challenging to keep clean, and can lead to more decay.  In addition, misaligned teeth can lead to teeth erosion and damage to supporting tissue and bone.

It’s best to have a consultation to evaluate the teeth crowding so we can discuss options to adjust the issue. Our office staff has advanced training in orthodontics and invisible braces such as invisalign. In some cases, it can take as little as 10 months for you to obtain realigned teeth from invisalign! Invisalign is invisible braces that are less noticeable, more comfortable, that gradually moves your teeth through a series of custom made, removable aligners.

Mouth Cancer

According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancers this year, and more than 8,000 will die from it. As you grow older, your chances of getting mouth cancer increases. Some people develop mouth cancer for no apparent reason, but some known causes include smoking, alcohol, chewing tobacco or betal leaf, or human papillomavirus.

The sad truth about mouth cancer is that only about half of people who develop it survive. In order to prevent or detect oral cancer, it is best to have a dental check-up every six months. During your dental exam, we will check your tongue and soft tissue in your mouth, throat and jaw for signs.

We will be able to have an indication of mouth cancer if you experience one or more of the following:

  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Lump on the lip, tongue, mouth or throat
  • Pain when chewing or swallowing
  • A feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • A change in your voice or speech problems
  • Unusual bleeding or numbness in the mouth
  • Lump in the neck
  • Loose teeth

For questions about how your dental hygiene routine can change to prevent or treat these conditions, contact our office today or call (239) 936-0597

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