As age progresses, there is not only a considerable decline in physical fitness, but dental health is also affected. However, just like our physical health and well being, if we want to enjoy perfect dental health during the old age, we must look after our teeth and gums in the early years. Let’s look at how old age affects our oral health, and how we can make sure that we retain a healthy and beautiful smile in the later years of life.
Wear and Tear
Our teeth are amazingly resilient; they can withstand very severe conditions in the oral cavity such as the extremes of temperature or pH ranges. However, there is only so much our teeth can bear. Ultimately, our teeth start to wear. One of the most prominent features of tooth wear is the flattening of the biting surfaces of the teeth. When this happens, not only the facial esthetics are negatively affected, but the chewing efficacy of the teeth is severely hampered. If you are facing a similar problem, then you should talk to your dentist so that the affected teeth can be restored accordingly.
Saliva in the oral cavity offers multiple beneficial features. One of them includes bathing the teeth and gums to wash away food and debris, thereby preventing teeth cavities. However, as we age, the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to ensure optimal cleaning of the teeth. As a result, the teeth are exposed to a variety of dental problems including teeth cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. In fact, according to the Harvard Medical School, the risk of developing teeth cavities beyond the age of 65 is even greater than during the childhood years.
One of the primary reasons behind a dry mouth is the medications that are usually taken in old age for the management of various medical conditions. In addition, medical conditions like diabetes can also cause dry mouth. If you often feel thirsty, and frequently have a dry sensation in your oral cavity, then you might be having dry mouth. In this case, you should consult your dentist and physician, so that the underlying issue can be diagnosed and managed appropriately.
According to dental professionals, the chances of having gum disease are increased exponentially during old age. In older individuals, gum inflammation leads to the recession of the gums from their normal places. As a result, the underlying root surfaces are exposed, leading to the formation of root cavities. Furthermore, the teeth also become sensitive to hot and cold foods.
If this condition is not treated timely through scaling and root planning, the teeth start to become loose and they ultimately fall off. Therefore, it is important that you maintain optimal oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing. In addition, you should never miss a checkup appointment with your dentist, as regular checkups ensure that your teeth and gums always remain in a healthy state.
With the advancement in age, the ability of our body to heal from infection is significantly decreased. This is because of the reduced regenerative capacity of the body. In addition, various medical conditions and medications can affect the body’s ability to fight infections. Therefore, you must take great care to avoid any injury or damage to your teeth or gums, as the recovery process is very slow in the advanced ages. If you feel that an injury or infection is not healing for a long, you must not take this condition lightly, and visit your dentist without delay.
Tips for Enjoying Good Dental Health in Old Age
The American Dental Association (ADA) offers various tips to maintain optimal oral health in your golden years:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Make sure to floss at least once in a day
- Don’t forget to clean your dentures daily. Simply rinse them in lukewarm water.
- Drink tap water, as it contains fluoride ions which can prevent teeth cavities
- Say no to smoking, as it is injurious to your physical and dental health. Avoid the use of alcoholic drinks as they can cause dry mouth.
Most importantly, you should visit your dentist regularly, so that he or she can diagnose underlying dental problems before they can cause permanent damage.
It is very easy to retain your pearly white teeth throughout life. Simply take care of the above-mentioned things and you can enjoy a Hollywood smile even the later years of your life! Happy smiling!