You likely notice changes developing in your body as you grow older. When we age, cells can become damaged and then lose their ability to repair issues as quickly as we could in years previously. This can lead to many medical concerns. But while aches and pains might be common, you might not realize aging can also lead to issues with your oral health.
Senior-aged dental patients may require more targeted preventative oral health care to protect their smiles from age-related dental concerns. Your dentist will evaluate your teeth and gums to determine the right treatments to preserve your smile.
But it can also help to know details about how age affects your teeth and gums over time. Read on to learn about three complications associated with aging that can affect your oral health.
Chronic Health Conditions Make Managing Dental Health Difficult
When you grow older, you have an increased chance of developing certain health conditions that can affect your body on a chronic basis. You and your doctor can manage heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and other medical issues. But these diseases will also put you in danger of oral health problems.
Existing health concerns can create inflammation throughout your body in an automatic attempt to repair damage. But as your body addresses these concerns, you can become more vulnerable to infections like gum disease. If natural oral bacteria reach your gums, you can develop an infection that will leave your gums swollen, sore, and bleeding.
If gum disease advances, you could suffer severe dental damage, including tooth loss. Gum disease requires treatment from a dentist to eradicate the infection. So ideally, you should take preventative measures to avoid contracting it in the first place. This means coordinating with your dentist and doctor when it comes to managing underlying medical conditions.
Increased Risk of Dry Mouth Heightens Danger of Dental Problems
Aging can come with many changes in the body, including hormonal adjustments that may affect certain processes in your body like saliva production in digestion. With less saliva in the mouth, you may notice dry mouth. Not only will this tacky, dry sensation feel irritating, but it can also increase your risk of gum disease and other dental concerns.
Certain medications you may require as you grow older may give you dry mouth as a side effect as well. To protect your smile, you will want to manage this increased risk of dry mouth. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and encourage saliva production.
Cognitive Decline Can Affect Oral Health Care
Aging can come with the danger of cognitive decline with conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. With diseases that impact cognition, an individual may forget to complete certain tasks or routines. If the patient does not adhere to their usual oral hygiene regimen, it could lead to major consequences for their oral health.
Brushing your teeth and flossing scrub away plaque that naturally forms on your teeth. If harmful residues remain on your smile, they will start to eat away at your teeth. This can make them weaker and more vulnerable to cavities and other issues. Ask your dentist for advice in sticking to a healthy oral hygiene regimen to keep your smile looking and feeling its best as you get older.