Dental Health After Age 60
Sunday, August 14, 2016
In so many ways, 60 is a youthful, vibrant age. If you want your teeth to stay as healthy as the rest of you as you move into your sixth decade, take note of some of the dental issues that can plague seniors and how to address them.
Tooth decay can hit an any age, even in your 60’s. Common areas for decay are on surface of your teeth, which might not have been a problem before, around old fillings, and at the roots.
Fluoride is the answer to this dilemma. Too many people thing fluoride treatments are just for children, but they can actually benefit anyone. Brush with fluoride toothpaste and, if you live in a place with fluoridated water, you’re in luck. Otherwise be sure rinse with a fluoride mouthwash daily, and request a fluoride treatment periodically from your dentist.
Did you know that there is calcium and phosphate present in saliva that prevents demineralization of your teeth? It’s true. Which is why when you experience dry mouth, you’re in for more than discomfort.
You’ll know if you have dry mouth because you’ll have a sticky feeling in your mouth, you have trouble swallowing, you might have a dry throat and you could have dry, cracked lips. You might even notice a metallic taste in your mouth or you could have persistent bad breath.
Medication can cause persistent dry mouth, as can smoking, and if your saliva glands have been injured in some way (perhaps by a hit to the head).
Sipping water all day and chewing sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva production. Your dentist might also prescribe you with a saliva substitute for you to try.
If you have swollen, red or bleeding gums you could have gingivitis, an early form of gum disease. Gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, a disease that causes your gums pulls away from your teeth and create pockets that can become infected. Once you get to that stage, if you don’t take action you could lose teeth or bones in your jaw.
Regular dental care and bi-annual visits to your dentist should prevent the condition from progressing to this point.
Smokers and heavy drinkers are far more likely to develop oral cancer than the average person, but visiting your dentist regularly can help detect any kind of oral cancer early.
Your dentist will check for oral cancer during your regular visit. The test involves checking the soft tissue in your mouth as well as your throat and jaw.
As we age, our teeth tend to shift, often causing them to overlap in places. Misalignment can cause enamel erosion or damage to the supporting tissue and bone.
Consider seeing an orthodontist if your dentist recommends it. Correcting alignment can be beneficial at any age.
Whether you need a routine cleaning or a more comprehensive procedure like scaling, restorative work or whitening, you’ll be in good hands with Dr. Philip Younts, DDS. Call our office to schedule an appointment and we’ll make sure your smile is as gorgeous as can be.