You’ve probably heard the comment - “age is a number.” The implication is not allowing your biological age to dictate your mindset about aging.
But relative to your dental care as you age it’s important to stay aware of certain age-related conditions that can affect your oral health.
That’s not as much a blunt reminder as it is a reality-check about accepting physical changes as you age.
No doubt, age changes things. From head to toe your body evolves with each trip around the sun (gotta love birthdays).
Cells, organs, and tissue experience change year to year. And it’s necessary to understand that your mouth, teeth, and gums are among the ever evolving cycle of physical health.
Here’s what health change looks like as you age:
- Your cell renewal slows
- Your body tissue thins and loses elasticity
- Your bones weaken with less density
- Your immune system works overtime to prevent infection and pace healing
Again, your oral soft tissue and bone tissue are equally susceptible to those changes as well.
Awareness is essential to maintaining good dental care as you age.
Be oral health aware as you age
Sensitive teeth issues
This condition has much to do with your overall gum health. If you have gingivitis or full-blown gum disease it’s important to be aware of how this affects your teeth.
Ongoing teeth sensitivity can signal that something is going on within your gum or bone tissue.
- Receding gums can expose the more sensitive areas of your teeth to hot and cold.
- Worn enamel perhaps caused by brushing too aggressively or poor oral health care can magnify sensitive teeth issues.
Medications can trigger a dry mouth condition
As your use of medications increases with age be aware of the impact some prescriptions can have on your oral health.
Reduced saliva production is the main culprit. Saliva helps protect your teeth from decay and supports gum health.
If saliva production slows as result of age or use of certain medications you could experience dental issues.
- Difficulty with chewing, tasting, and swallowing
- Sores within your mouth
- An increase in tooth decay and the risk of gum disease
- Mouth infections
Inventory your medications and health history for potential dry mouth causes.
- High blood pressure, cholesterol, and depression meds
- Cancer treatment side-effects
- Diabetes and/or stroke conditions
Watch your oral cancer risk
The risk is present within a range of ages. But it is recommended that those over age 45 and men in particular take advantage of regular oral cancer screenings.
Lifestyle factors have much to do with your risk for developing oral cancer.
- Excessive alcohol and tobacco use
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
- Medications with the potential to weaken your immune system (ask your provider)
- Poor oral hygiene
Prioritize your dental care
Up to now you’ve hopefully followed good oral hygiene habits. Daily brushing and flossing are fundamental to keeping your aging teeth and gums healthy.
Dental care priorities don’t stop there. Secondary habits also have a role in good dental health as you age.
- Monitor your diet - especially sugar intake.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout each day.
- Schedule regular dental check-ups and teeth cleanings with a licensed dentist and dental hygienist.
- Keep your dental restorations healthy such as cleaning your dentures or your dental bridge.
Aging well (and healthy) requires awareness and action. Be aware of convenient solutions for maintaining your oral health.
Virtual dental care provides you the opportunity to consult with an online dentist.
- Schedule an initial oral health consultation.
- Seek a follow-up second opinion to a previous diagnosis.
Schedule your next dental check-up or consultation from the comfort and convenience of your home
The Dental.com team of dental professionals are trained to identify, diagnose, and treat any dental condition. From toothaches to second opinions - you’re covered!
- Access a 24 hour dentist now from your personal, private, and secure account.
- Select a reason for your visit using a brief questionnaire.
- Receive virtual dental care from a licensed dentist when you provide your issue details, any photos, and/or dental/health records.