As you advance in age, your mouth goes through significant changes, and these transformations can pose unique challenges to your oral health. Recognizing these issues is the first step to maintaining a healthy mouth well into your golden years.
Tooth Decay and Cavities
Despite what you might assume, adults are not immune to new cavities. Seniors actually experience dental cavities nearly twice as often as younger adults. Factors contributing to this increase include receding gums exposing the delicate root surfaces to decay and long-term exposure to plaque.
Increased Risk of Periodontitis
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, afflicts a significant portion of the older population. Present data show that about 64 percent of seniors in the United States have moderate or severe periodontitis. This condition can progress to more serious health complications if left unchecked.
A frequent yet often overlooked issue is dry mouth, which results from reduced saliva flow. Saliva is essential for neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, thus helping to combat tooth decay. Medications, a common factor in the lives of many seniors, can often be the culprit behind a dry mouth.
Sensitivity to Dental Care
With age, your teeth and gums might become more sensitive, making dental care routines feel uncomfortable or even painful. Adjusting your oral hygiene methods can prevent this discomfort while still ensuring a thorough clean.
Understanding these specific challenges is crucial. But remember, effective dental care isn't just about responding to problems—it's about preventative measures to maintain your oral health at its best. Therefore, consistent oral hygiene practices and regular dental checkups are indispensable.