As we age, the number of possible health concerns seems to rise exponentially. One of the most commonly-affected organs include those of the skeletal system, especially the teeth. The stereotype of elders with dentures has a sliver of truth to it, especially for those reaching that milestone threshold of ages 40-60. In this article, we will provide you with some reliable information on the most common dental problems affecting those within the aforementioned age range.
The Cause of Age-Related Dental Problems
Even though your molars are some of the strongest bones in your body, being able to bear over 200 pounds of pressure, they are not indestructible. Chewing and grinding over your lifetime wears down on the layer of enamel, flattening the edges used to bite and break down foods when you chew. Additionally, exposure to acidic foods like citrus and carbonated beverages dissolves this enamel. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), below are some of the most widespread dental concerns that arise in people ages 40-60:
The initial stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. It is critical that gum disease be noticed and treated at this stage, because progression past this is irreversible. Once problems progress beyond gingivitis, the health of your gums can degrade further into the stage called periodontitis. This is a serious bacterial infection. It is possible to have gingivitis and display no symptoms, so keeping regular visits to the dentist is critical to catching this health condition early on.
It is natural for your mouth to feel dry every now and then. However, if you feel like your mouth is always dry, there may be more to it. Let your trusted dentist know about this symptom, and they will be able to check your teeth for signs of decay. The reason for this is that a decreased flow of saliva can be connected to many different oral health concerns, including tooth decay.
This cancer can affect any part of the oropharyngeal cavity: the lips, gum tissue, the inner lining of the cheeks, jaw, palate (hard or soft), or throat. You may begin to notice signs of this cancer in the form of small white or red spots, or seemingly inexplicable swelling in the mouth or throat. One of the major signs of this cancer (or other cancers affecting the mouth or throat) is the loss of the ability to close your mouth and comfortably fit your teeth together.
“Crowding” of the teeth
If you’ve started to feel like your food is getting stuck in new places in your mouth, or you have general discomfort in the way your teeth are fitting together, don’t worry. You’re not imagining it. This is a real problem that comes about with age. Your teeth shift as you age, which can lead to increased difficulty in cleaning, erosion, and damage to the gum tissue. If left untreated, this can result in the accelerated decay of your teeth.
How to Slow Down the Decline of Dental Health With Age
Unfortunately, the decline of your healthy teeth as you age is inevitable. There is not much we can do to fight this natural degradation. However, there are some basic practices you can integrate into daily life to extend the life of your teeth. As your dentist always says, implementing regular flossing into your daily hygiene regimen, along with brushing and periodic visits to the dentist’s office, is a surefire way to protect your teeth from wear of the enamel and gum tissue.
If you have trouble flossing due to arthritis or similar disabilities, you can opt for fluoride-based mouth rinses. These help the body to repair the mineral crystals that comprise the tooth enamel and may also function to deflect plaque from building up on the teeth. Fluoride may also be able to significantly delay tooth decay over time and may even reverse the damage already caused by decay.
Have Your Teeth Treated by the Dental Experts of Simi Valley
It can be scary, facing the new health concerns that may come about with age, especially when those conditions affect a part of you that is front and center like your teeth. Do your best to nip this problem in the bud before it affects you too deeply by visiting the Dental Group of Simi Valley. Drs. Herschel Berger and Laura Jen Kin are the second generation of dentists to lead Simi Valley’s dental health effort in this family-owned clinic. Each patient is treated like a part of our extended family, so you can rest assured that we will care for you to the best of our ability. Visit our office today in Simi Valley, CA or call today to schedule your appointment.