Ageing presents numerous dental and oral challenges, putting many of people at risk of suffering from various oral health issues. At face value, the oral care habits that you developed earlier on should serve you well and help you keep your teeth in great shape for much longer as you grow older. However, there are various age-related oral health complications that you will grapple with which may require special attention. These will not hit you suddenly but will appear gradually over time. Some of these dental conditions include the following:
Darkening of Teeth: Many of us want to maintain our pearly white teeth into old age but as you age, you may notice your teeth darkening in spite of your best efforts at dental care. This may due to changes in the dentin. The dentin is the bone-like tissue that is beneath the tooth enamel. Darkening of teeth may also be due to the thinning out of your teeth enamel which will partially expose the darker inner dentin, thus making your teeth appear darker. A lifetime of poor eating habits may also accelerate the darkening of your teeth as you grow older.
Tooth Decay: Tooth decay occurs in all age-groups but the effect may accelerate during old age due to multiple reasons. In old age, generally, it will be caused by the cumulative effect of numerous factors such as too much sugar and extended exposure of teeth to acids that cause tooth decay. Your gums may also recede as you grow older and this exposes the teeth to further decay.
Gum Diseases: These also occur in old age and may be caused by factors ranging from anemia to diabetes (which are common in older people), tobacco use, poor-fitting dentures and dental bridges among many others.
Uneven jawbone: This may be caused by loss of a tooth and failure to do a replacement at the spot. It will eventually lead to the drifting away of teeth and spaces will begin to form between the teeth.
Tooth Loss: Gum loss or receding gums will eventually cause tooth loss.
Dry mouths: Older people may also suffer from reduced saliva flow, especially if they are undergoing cancer treatments.
Attrition: After years of chewing and exposure to sugars and acids, the enamel and dentin may simply begin to disintegrate and this will increase the risk of cavities.
Managing Dental Problems in Old Age
To keep your teeth in great shape as you grow older, there are numerous special dental care steps and procedures that you may need to add to your routine. These include the following:
More Fluoridation: Fluoride strengthens teeth and also helps in preventing the formation of cavities. Use fluoride toothpaste to remineralize your teeth. You can also do a fluoride mouth rinse once in a while.
Kick out your tobacco habit: Tobacco use is linked to increased susceptibility to mouth and throat cancer. Chewing tobacco can also increase the risk of tooth decay. For excellent oral health, it is time to kick your tobacco addiction.
Oral hydration: If you taking medication that is causing oral hydration talk to your doctor for any alternatives that are unlikely to cause a dry mouth. You should also drink more water and take less alcohol so as to have a well hydrated mouth which is good for your oral health.
Use a mouthwash: If you aren’t already doing it, start using an antibacterial mouthwash that will help curb the formation of plaque on your teeth.
As you grow older, you will have to pay an even closer attention to your oral health to prevent various other conditions from cropping up. Apart from the common sense dental care tips, pay regular attention to your dentist for check-ups and drop the habits that will only exacerbate dental health problems.