Aging is an inevitable part of life. Your entire body will experience its effects, and your teeth are no exception. However, being aware of aging’s effects on your teeth can help you to maintain their health and physical appearance. In this article, we will inform you of some possible dental issues associated with age as well as ways to prevent them.
Wear and Tear
Tooth enamel is the hardest surface in the human body, even passing bones on the Mohs hardness scale. Despite their extraordinary hardness, they can still succumb to cracks. Cracks in in your enamel can develop over time due to a number of lifestyle choices, illnesses or accidents, eventually leading to broken teeth. Everyday occurrences, like chewing food, involuntarily night-time teeth grinding, and improper biting also can wear your teeth down.
To prevent as much wear and tear of your teeth as possible, consider following this advice:
- Avoid chewing on ice and don’t open bottles or food packages with your teeth: Chewing on objects other than food often results in microfractures of the enamel. These types of cracks can lead to increased teeth sensitivity and eventual broken teeth.
- Skip the metal tongue piercing: Tongue piercings have been shown to cause chipped teeth and receding gums. The constant presence of a foreign object in the mouth causes wearers to unconsciously fiddle with and bite down on their piercing. This habit, when performed for an extended period of time, will result in damaged teeth.
Advanced cases of gum disease are most common in the older adult population. Gum disease forms due to the long-term build-up of plaque. This build-up leads to the uncomfortable swelling and bleeding of the gums. In more severe cases, plaque can cause painful infections of the tori (the bones of the mouth).
Like wear and tear, gum disease develops over time. It can be prevented (and sometimes reversed) in the following ways:
- Keep a proper oral care routine: Brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and use mouthwash to remove any food particles that may have been missed. Dedicate time out of your day to the proper maintenance of your teeth and gums. Brush all crevices of your mouth, including your tongue. Improper or ineffectual brushing can mean hard-to-reach parts of the mouth get missed. Be sure to brush right up to the gumline, behind the teeth and right to the back of your mouth. This thorough cleaning will help prevent the build-up of plaque and minimise your risk of getting gum disease.
- Be aware of the signs: Bad breath, bleeding gums when brushing, loose teeth, and tender and receding gums are all signs of gum disease. If you start to experience any of these symptoms, contact a periodontist who can diagnose you and help you seek preventative treatment.
- Understand your potential risk: A number of variables can affect your chances of acquiring gum disease. Being aware of uncontrollable factors, like age and genetics, will give you motivation to not fall behind on your oral health. Quitting harmful habits like smoking and chewing tobacco will reduce your risk of gum disease.
Dry mouth is a common problem amongst seniors. It is often caused by diseases that are persistent in the older population, like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease. If dry mouth isn’t caused by these diseases, it can surface due to medications like antihistamines, muscle relaxers, and painkillers.
Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva. This poses a serious problem to oral health, as saliva defends against acid erosion and is responsible for restoring minerals to your teeth. To prevent dry mouth:
- Drink water regularly: Try drinking 8 glasses of water a day to keep yourself properly hydrated.
- Brush and floss daily: Even if you are susceptible to dry mouth because of required medications, these oral health practices will keep your teeth healthy by preventing acid erosion from occurring.
You May Age (But Your Teeth Don’t Have To)
You can’t stop growing older, but with good dental hygiene practices, your teeth don’t have to. To keep up with your dental health, visit us at Dentrix DentalCare! We’ll help you keep an eye out for age-related dental problems and preserve your smile for a lifetime.