As you age, you are likely to suffer more dental challenges than the younger generation. Your body weakens and becomes more susceptible to diseases and injuries. With proper care, however, you can maintain strong and healthy teeth into your sunset years. Here are some of the dental problems you may face in old age and how to manage the challenges.
As you get older, your teeth are likely to discolor due to a variety of issues. For one, you have exposed your teeth to a variety of colored foods over the years, and their accumulated effect is bound to show up in old age. Secondly, the increase in diseases in old age, and their medications, may also discolor your teeth. Lastly, teeth enamel naturally thins with age and loses its effectiveness.
Here are the tips to deal with age-related dental discoloration:
- Limit discoloring foods since your teeth are highly susceptible to staining at this time.
- Whiten your teeth with approved bleaching products.
- Get dental veneers to cover up the discolored spots.
Talk to your dentist for advice on what is best for you.
The salivary glands, which produce saliva to moisten the mouth and wash away food remains, reduce their productivity in old age. The decrease is partly due to aging and partly due to the diseases and medications you get exposed to in old age. Unfortunately, xerostomia (dry mouth syndrome) increases your risk of dental problems, such as decay and bad breath.
To deal with xerostomia, avoid habits that dry up your mouth. For example, limit the use of caffeine products, don’t smoke, and avoid mouthwashes with alcohol. Also, sip water regularly to hydrate your body and mouth. Lastly, chew sugar-free gum to stimulate your salivary gland to produce more saliva.
A lifetime of bad oral habits, for example, may catch up with you and trigger gum disease in your old age. Some of the diseases that tend to strike people in old age, such as diabetes and anemia, also increase the risk of gum disease.
Gum disease is a serious dental condition that requires treatment from a dentist. Maintain a good oral hygiene routine to reduce your risk of gum disease, but if you do develop the condition, consult your dentist as soon as possible to prevent tooth loss and other complications.
One of the effects of gum disease is that it exposes the root of your teeth. The teeth roots get exposed when the gums pool away from the teeth. Unfortunately, the teeth roots are not as strong as the rest of the tooth, which means the roots are also more susceptible to decay.
The best way to prevent root decay is to prevent gum disease and maintain a good oral hygiene routine (brush and floss daily). Treatment for root decay is roughly similar to treatment for tooth decay. However, root decay can easily make you lose your teeth so you should treat root decay as soon as the decay starts.
Your bones become thin, lose their density, and become fragile as you get older. Bone deterioration affects your dental health because the jawbone anchors your teeth. With a deteriorated jawbone, your teeth may lose some of their alignment, dental implants may take longer to heal, and dental devices may not fit you properly.
Apart from a good diet and regular exercise, there isn’t much you can do to prevent bone deterioration in old age. Fortunately, your dentist has enough skills to treat your dental ailments despite your weak bones.
You don’t have to suffer the above dental problems in your old age. At Kenneth M. Schweizer DDS, PA, we have experienced professionals who will work with you to ensure you maintain healthy teeth in your senior years. Contact us for all your dental health needs and we will give you compassionate dental care.