Common Dental Problems That Come with Age and How to Prevent Them
As an adult, you know that you need to care for your teeth. You brush and floss twice a day, and you never miss a dental checkup. You even avoid acidic and sugary foods to safeguard your smile. However, you may have noticed that your smile doesn't appear as bright as it did when you were younger.
You continue to inspect your smile for slight changes, and this process makes you think that you need change your oral care as you age. But what dental problems should you look out for? Below, we've listed some of the most common age-related dental issues. And to help you preserve your smile, we've given you tips to prevent these problems.
As you age, you might notice that your mouth feels drier than usual. Perhaps you have to drink more water, chew gum regularly, or have breath mints on hand to keep your mouth moist.
How This Issue Occurs
According to medical experts, around 800 different medications cause this dental issue. You likely take these various prescriptions to treat ailments. As a result, your mouth feels dry. When your mouth doesn't contain enough saliva, you have a difficult time eating, speaking, and swallowing. If left untreated, dry mouth can lead to more serious dental problems.
Steps to Take
One of the easiest ways to prevent dry mouth is to drink plenty of water each day. You should also limit or avoid the following items:
- Sugary foods and candies
Consult with your dentist for more information about preventing dry mouth.
The risk for gingivitis significantly increases as you age. Depending on the severity of this issue, it may also lead to gum disease.
Even if you diligently care for your teeth, you could still develop gingivitis. Many people forget to clean their gums properly, which causes plaque to build up along the gum line. When too much plaque builds up along your gums, you'll notice symptoms including:
- Swollen, red gums
- Bleeding gums
- Small gaps between your gums and teeth
If you notice these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist or oral hygienist immediately.
To prevent gingivitis, clean your teeth and gums to remove bacteria and plaque. You should also floss and use mouthwash as you tend to your teeth. For added protection, brush and floss after every meal, not just twice a day.
This disease spreads to your gums, tongue, throat, and lips. Reports from the Oral Cancer Foundation indicate that more than 45,000 U.S. residents will develop oral cancer during the next year. Individuals who use tobacco products are at greater risk for developing the disease than those who avoid these items.
Conditions that Generate Oral Cancer
As previously mentioned, tobacco products lead to oral cancer However, the following conditions also cause this disease:
- Extreme exposure to the sun
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Family history of cancer
How to Avoid This Dental Problem
Though some conditions inadvertently cause oral cancer, you can still take steps to avoid it. Protect your lips and apply sunscreen-infused lip balm. Avoid tobacco products completely, and only drink alcohol in moderation.
And be sure to visit your dentist regularly. At each appointment, he or she examines your mouth for signs of oral cancer. If your dentist notices early symptoms of the condition, he or she can better prevent it from spreading.
Follow the preventative measures listed above to keep your smile brilliant as you age. Remember to visit your dentist every six months so that he or she can further protect your teeth from additional dental issues.
And if you notice any of these complications as you age, consult with a dental professional immediately. He or she can recommend treatment options so that you can enjoy your natural smile longer.