As you age, certain oral conditions and dental concerns can develop over time. It’s important for seniors to be aware of potential oral health issues and to know how you can keep those teeth and jaws in tip-top shape!
Dry mouth is often caused by prescription and over-the-counter medications but also from physical changes within the body as you age. Saliva helps kill bacteria and rebuild enamel, and without it (or a lack of it), the risk for oral disease increases.
Gum disease occurs when gum tissues surrounding teeth become infected. It can also be caused by plaque buildup on teeth and gums from improper oral health care habits earlier in life. The roots of the teeth can become exposed as the gums recede, which can lead to root or tooth decay.
Dental attrition is simply wear and tear caused by many years of chewing and grinding. The risk for cavities increases as enamel wears down.
Tips to Maintain Oral Health
- Drink fluoridated water or use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride provides protection against decay.
- Visit your dentist on a regular basis. Professional care will help you maintain the overall health of your teeth and mouth.
- Avoid tobacco. Tobacco used in any form increases the risk for periodontal disease, oral and throat cancers, and oral fungal infection.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Drinking a lot of alcoholic beverages increases the risk for oral and throat cancers.
- If your medications cause dry mouth, ask your doctor if there are any drugs that can be substituted. If dry mouth cannot be avoided, drink plenty of water, chew sugarless gum, and avoid tobacco and alcohol.
- Use antibacterial mouthwash when brushing your teeth and flossing to fight plaque buildup.
Looking for a painless dentistry practice? Get to know the friendly faces at Austin Family Dentistry! If you're concerned about tooth erosion, gum disease, or a variety of other oral health issues as you age, schedule a visit with our Little Rock family dental office! We're available in Maumelle, as well, to provide total dental care for you and your loved ones.