Aging and Your Dental Health
As you age, your body goes through many changes. It is important that you take steps to maintain your health as you get older. This includes maintaining your oral health. Oral hygiene is an essential lifelong habit. However, as you get older, your oral health needs change.
Dealing With Dry Mouth
As you get older, the risk of dry mouth increases. Dry mouth is a condition in which your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva, leaving your mouth feeling tacky and dry. Saliva is essential for neutralizing acids and washing away lingering food particles and bacteria. Also called xerostomia, dry mouth provides the perfect environment for bacterial growth, which can increase your risk of developing cavities and gum disease. When not treated, cavities and gum disease can lead to infections in the teeth and tooth loss. Older adults are more likely to develop dry mouth due to the medications that they may be taking to help treat other health-related issues. Dry mouth may be a side effect of some of these medications.
Mobility and Oral Hygiene
As you get older, you may start to develop mobility issues. Mobility issues are often caused by arthritis but can be caused by other issues as well. These issues not only impact your ability to move. They can also impact your ability to properly care for your mouth. If you are unable to properly brush and floss your teeth, areas of your mouth are left uncleaned. This results in a buildup of plaque and oral bacteria, both of which can quickly lead to the development of cavities and gum disease.
Oral Cancer Concerns
Oral cancer can affect just about anyone, but there are certain factors that can increase your risk. As you get older, your oral health risk increases. Men over the age of 55 are at a much higher risk than younger individuals. Other contributing factors for oral cancer include smoking, drinking, and family history. While early detection and treatment is key to restoring your oral health, oral cancer is often difficult to detect in the beginning stages. Without proper treatment, oral cancer can be fatal. Oral cancer is responsible for more deaths than skin cancer.
Maintaining Your Oral Health as You Age
As you get older, it is essential that you work to maintain your oral health. It is still important to brush twice a day and floss at least once a day. If you are having mobility issues that prohibit you from properly caring for your mouth, you may find that an electric toothbrush and floss picks are more effective. In addition to caring for your mouth at home, it is still just as important that you have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined at least twice a year. Maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet and make sure that you drink plenty of water. Taking care of your mouth properly can help to ensure that your mouth remains healthy your whole life.
Just because you get older, that does not mean that you are going to have to deal with tooth loss and other oral health issues. Taking proper care of your mouth will help to keep your teeth happy and healthy for your whole life. For more information, and to schedule your appointment, call The Elmwood Dental Group LLC at (860) 331-8748 today.