Dental Care Over 50: Common Dental Problems And Tips For Avoiding Them
Prioritizing good oral hygiene is something that you should never stop doing, regardless of your age. Whether you still have a complete set of teeth or most of them are artificial, proper oral care is still important to retain the good health of your teeth and to avoid possible dental problems.
Top Dental Issues for People Over 50 and How to Avoid Them
Dental care over 50 is pretty much the same as with any age; practicing good oral hygiene and paying regular visits to your dentist are crucial. However, once you reach the age of 50, you have to be wary of these usual dental problems:
If you’re over 50, you can get dental caries and decay on the surfaces of your teeth that have never been a problem before. They can also develop around old fillings, crowns, and bridgework, and at the root of your tooth. This is because as you age, the root of your tooth becomes softer and more exposed.
To minimize or avoid tooth decay, you can try fluoride gels or toothpaste and rinses. You would also do well to start having a well-balanced, mineral-rich diet and getting plenty of vitamin D. Your dentist can also prescribe specialized dental gels or varnishes that you can apply to your roots and teeth to prevent the start of tooth decay.
Dry mouth or Xerostomia
The normal process of aging slows down the production of saliva in the mouth. Certain medications, smoking, and other health problems can further expedite this condition. Saliva contains the minerals calcium and phosphate which prevent demineralization in the teeth and thwart the growth of cavities. If you have dry mouth, you are more at risk of developing tooth decay.
Common symptoms of dry mouth include difficulties swallowing, a sticky feeling in your mouth, dry throat, and having dry, cracked lips.
If you have dry mouth, you have to stimulate saliva production. This means staying fully hydrated by sipping water all day. Chewing sugar-free xylitol gum can also help. You can also ask your dentist to prescribe a saliva substitute or recommend an over-the-counter formulation that can help you get the saliva and moisture flowing again.
As you get older, your risk for gum disease becomes higher, especially if you smoke, have poor dental hygiene habits, crowded teeth, and dry mouth. If you already have gingivitis (an early form of gum disease) and you leave this issue untreated, it can progress into periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious dental problem wherein the gum pulls away from the tooth and creates pockets which can become infected. Serious cases of this dental condition can also cause the loss of bones in the jaw and teeth loss, even of healthy ones, since your teeth get so loose they simply fall out.
Regular visits to your dentist can help prevent the start of gum diseases. It is important that your dentist checks your gums at least twice a year to look for signs of infections or inflammations and provide treatment as early as possible.
People over 50 also have to be wary of oral cancer and tooth crowding. A Sterling Heights dentist will be able to diagnose various dental problems early before they can become serious and educate you about taking better care of your teeth.