Six Reasons Why You Should Take Care of Your Teeth As You Age
It’s no secret that as we age, so do our bones and cells. Our bones become more brittle and lose their density as we get older, and the nerves in your teeth can become smaller, leading to less sensitivity in your teeth which can make self-diagnosing cavities harder (and susceptibility to them higher).
Taking care of your teeth is very important as you age, as risks for gum disease and more become more prevalent, which can also lead to more problems and complications if left untreated due to a naturally occurring weakening of the immune system.
Also referred to as ‘periodontal disease’ and ‘gingivitis’, gum disease is often the result of inflammation of the gums, and later infection that can seep down to the bone that helps support your teeth.
Gingivitis is the term used in its earliest stages, which is often where you see red, swollen gums that are more prone to bleeding (especially when flossing). Gum disease is caused by plaque that remains on your teeth for a long time without being treated. Risk factors for gum disease include poor oral health habits (which is why you should take care of your teeth) smoking/drug use, poor nutrition, and in some people it can be genetic or hormonal.
Ultimately, gum disease can lead to the loss of your teeth, and the bacteria from infections can cause more severe issues as it enters your bloodstream.
Frequent dental care can help combat this.
Dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands aren’t able to keep your mouth wet because they aren’t producing enough saliva. An interesting fact is that saliva helps prevent your teeth from decaying because it neutralizes the acids created by bacteria. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications as a side effect, is often a normal part of aging, and can also occur as an effect of radiation therapy.
Dry mouth can lead to difficulty chewing, bad breath (halitosis), a dry tongue, and a sore throat. Complications from dry mouth include thrush, sores in your mouth, cracked lips, and it can even lead to gum disease due to increased plaque. Ensure you receive proper dental care to help combat this.
As we age, our tooth enamel loses its density which can lead to weakened, more brittle teeth. This problem can be exacerbated by grinding or clenching your teeth, poor oral hygiene that leads to tooth decay, cavities, and more, and even poor nutrition. Without the proper vitamins and minerals your body (and bones) need to remain strong and in-tact, your teeth can become more brittle with time.
Plaque is a normal part of life. It is bacteria that forms over teeth and eventually hardens, leaving a coating on your teeth (that can feel ‘fuzzy’), but can lead to more serious complications if not removed through dental care.
Plaque is what leads to cavities, gingivitis (which can cause gum disease), gum infections, tooth decay, and tooth infections (i.e. an abscessed tooth and the need for a root canal). This often takes a significant amount of time, and if you’re going for regular check-ups and cleanings at your dentist, then the plaque will be removed and you will be far less likely to suffer the complications of plaque build-ups.
This is another very important reason for why you should take care of your teeth.
Studies have shown that adults between the ages of 30 to 40 are often on the receiving end of sensitive teeth, often due to gum recession (which is the leading cause of sensitive teeth). Tooth sensitivity is exacerbated by worn enamel, gum problems (such as the ones we mentioned above), and tooth decay.
Fluoride – a cleaning solution given by dentists during check-ups – can help strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce the pain or sensitivity you’re feeling in everyday life. Your dentist may even prescribe an at-home fluoride treatment to help build your enamel back up and prevent your teeth from continuing to bother you.
Implants and bridges
Inevitably, as we age, our teeth will become weaker (in part due to some of the points we’ve made above about what can happen if you don’t take care of your teeth). Dental bridges are not an ideal solution for the aging population, as they are difficult to floss and can cause decay and damage to the roots below.
Instead, permanent implants are seen as the superior option. They are more akin to a regular set of teeth, don’t need to be taken in and out like dentures, and look natural.
Dentistry at Consilium is a progressive, compassionate dentistry group. Not only can we help you keep your teeth looking good and combat gum disease & other complications with your oral hygiene, but we can also perform important treatments such as permanent implants.
Give us a call at 416-296-1080 or contact us online for more information & to book an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!