Unfortunately, the aging process isn’t kind on the human body. Our strength and stamina decrease as we get older. As well as diseases and cancers, our bodies also grow more susceptible to other forms of damage through the natural processes of everyday wear and tear – including damage to our teeth and gums.
While following a good diet and maintaining a strict dental care routine can drastically reduce the chances of developing problems in later life, it’s quite likely most people will experience at least some of these common dental problems as they get older.
Tooth and gum problems in the aged
Many dental problems can be avoided by taking adequate brushing and flossing and regularly visiting the dentist. Nonetheless, as we age our teeth can still develop issues, including:
Tooth decay: Tooth decay is often associated with a diet high in sugar – sometimes coupled with not looking after teeth properly. It can often lead to painful cavities or tooth loss.
Receding gums: Receding gums are often a sign of poor dental health and care – though they can also be caused by gum disease, smoking, teeth grinding. If left untreated, the patient may eventually suffer tooth loss.
Gum disease (also sometimes called periodontal disease): Gum disease is very common in older generations and is most often caused by a build-up of bacteria in plaque and tartar. It can also be caused by smoking or poor diet. Red, bleeding or irritated gums are the most common signs. In serious cases, patients may develop gingivitis or periodontitis.
Dry mouth: Another very common dental ailment as we age is the phenomenon of a dry mouth caused by decreased production of saliva. In the absence of sufficient saliva, acids and sugars are more likely to build up in the mouth leading to tooth decay and increased risk of gum disease.
Oral cancer: Unfortunately, our risk of developing cancers increases across all areas of the body as we age. Smokers or heavy drinkers are at increased risk of developing oral cancers – though it can happen to anyone. If you notice ulcers, color changes, or sores, you should visit your dentist immediately for early diagnosis.
Also, dental problems aren’t just limited to the aged. Other common issues can develop during the growth process – including not having enough space for the wisdom teeth to grow inside the mouth. In this case, the patient will need to have the teeth removed. While prices vary among surgeries, the true cost of wisdom teeth removal is most commonly related to the treatment’s complexity.
The importance of visiting the dentist regularly cannot be overstated when it comes to maintaining the resilience of your teeth and gums. During a check-up, your dentist will examin the inside of your mouth, looking for tell-tale signs of problems – as well taking preventative measures to reduce the risk of issues developing in the first place.
While good oral hygiene is also an important part of looking after your dental health, consulting with a dentist is the single most important factor in keeping your teeth and gums healthy.