You have no doubt noticed that aging affects every part of your body and much of it is unavoidable. Science has taught us that if we take care of ourselves better, we can slow down, reverse or at least lessen the symptoms of getting older. One area of concern as we age is our dental health. At this point in your life, you may be noticing a greater occurrence of certain dental disorders that may have been less of an issue in your earlier years. Read on for more information about dental problems in your golden years.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of your gums caused by bacteria in your mouth. In this initial stage of gum disease, a professional cleaning will rid your teeth of the plaque and tartar that hold the harmful bacteria. If left untreated, gingivitis could progress to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease that could lead to the destruction of the bone structure around your mouth and the bones that hold your teeth in.
Missing teeth are common at this point in life, but this issue is more than simply a cosmetic one. Missing teeth cause permanent changes in your mouth if not replaced. Your other teeth can shift to close the gap, leading to lose teeth. In addition, the area of the missing tooth can be a hot spot for bacteria to invade your gums. The options for replacing missing teeth include implants, bridges and dentures, if you have a lot of tooth loss.
Dry mouth can be caused by medications, health conditions like diabetes or a reduction in saliva simply due to aging. While uncomfortable, dry mouth is also a contributing factor in gum disease. Saliva is our body's natural cleanser for our mouth and teeth, so having a dry mouth could increase your chances for other oral health problems like decay and gum disease.
Mouth cancer, or oropharyneal cancer affects areas of your mouth such as the gums, tongue, throat and tonsils, sides of the mouth and the lips. This type of cancer begins with tiny bumps inside the mouth that may go unnoticed except by your dental hygienist or dentist.
Don't allow these common dental diseases to cause more problems with your health in your older years. Taking care of your dental health is just as important as eating a healthy diet and exercising. See your dentist (like those at Panther Hollow Dental Lodge) for regular check ups to help catch and treat these disorders so you can continue to have everything to smile about.