Many people don’t realize the importance of dealing with dental issues until it’s too late. Adults over 60 years of age are more susceptible to experiencing adverse dental problems if they have not sustained healthy oral hygiene practices over the long haul. Common dental conditions can range from cavities to gum disease or oral cancer. A lifetime of poor dental hygiene, tearing away at the enamel, and avoiding regular dental checkups can result in a slew of extreme dental issues as you get older.
Approximately 28 percent of adults over 65 have no original teeth remaining in their mouths. While dentures solve that problem, they do not heal deteriorating gums or address plaque and bacteria. Practice good oral hygiene habits to avoid dental diseases and discomfort during your senior years. Learn about some of the most prominent dental problems and solutions for adults over 60 years of age below.
Expected Dental Issues for Older Adults
There are some dental issues a person can expect to encounter as he or she ages. It is perfectly reasonable to see changes in your body and how it performs. Your mouth is no different. Some normal dental conditions may appear, but it is your job to make sure you address them as they come. Even better, you can avoid many of them by keeping up with your oral health by visiting your dentist frequently.
Common oral health issues include:
- Bad breath – Bad breath is a crucial indicator of major dental issues as you get older. Not everyone over 60 gets bad breath. It is one of the most common traits of many dental diseases. Make sure you brush your tongue, gums, and inner cheeks when you brush your teeth. Floss at least once every day and brush your teeth twice using a fluoride toothpaste. Use mouthwash to help kill extra bacteria. Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible if bad breath persists.
- Wear and tear – Eating or drinking acidic foods can naturally chip away at the enamel on your teeth. Major tooth problems can result if you do nothing to stop this. Sensitive nerve-endings are exposed if the tough outer shell of a tooth is broken. This can lead to pain and infection. You cannot avoid wear and tear, but you can use an enamel-supporting toothbrush in addition to regular upkeep.
- Losing teeth – The ability for your roots to remain intact decreases over time. This can lead to loose gums and teeth falling out. Flossing regularly and examining your gums can help with this.
Major Dental Issues and Diseases
Dental diseases are not something you want to have to deal with as you get older. The dental problem list below includes several conditions which can be avoided through proper dental care. Many of the above dental issues can lead to major dental diseases. Avoid virtually all dental problems by taking good care of your teeth and visiting your dentist at least twice per year for cleanings and consultations.
Major oral health issues include:
- Cavities – Many older adults take several medications to address health problems not related to the mouth. Many of these medications can cause dry mouth, which can lead to cavities. Cavities are also known as tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria creates acid to break down tooth enamel. Cavities can be painful and lead to tooth loss. Avoid sugary foods, drink more water, chew no-sugar-added gum, or use an oral moisturizer to keep your mouth lubricated.
- Gum disease – Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums. Swelling, sensitivity, and redness around the tooth are common in this condition. Gingivitis is not gum disease, but it is a precursor to it. The buildup of plaque and bacteria around the tooth can lead to bleeding while brushing. Gum disease is also known as Periodontitis. The disease causes bad breath, separation of the gums, shifting teeth, and small spaces between the gums and teeth. Food and germs collect in these areas and often become infected. Enzymes and bacteria can cause the tooth decay. Smoking, poor hygiene, diabetes, and even family history cause gum disease. Get professional cleanings at least twice per year, reduce stress levels, do not clench your teeth, and stop smoking to avoid gum disease.
- Oral cancer – This is quite possibly the biggest of the dental issues anyone can ever be diagnosed with. Oral cancer can be any cancer of the lips, tongue, cheeks, mouth, or sinuses. Growths or sores in the mouth characterize the condition. These mouth sores do not go away. Symptoms can include bleeding in the gums, difficulty chewing or swallowing, or even ear pain. Common causes of oral cancer including the use of tobacco products, regular alcohol consumption, and excess exposure to the sun. Cease smoking or use of chewing tobacco, limit alcohol intake and reduce the amount of time in the sun.
How will you take better care of your teeth as you age?