Thanks to advancements in medical technology over the past few decades, people are living longer than ever. If you practice good oral hygiene habits, your natural teeth may last a lifetime, but many people find they need at least partial dentures as they age. If you have damaged or missing teeth and want to discuss your options with a skilled dentist, turn to Randall A. Ellis DDS in Texarkana, AR.
How Teeth & Gums Change With Age
More Dry Mouth
As you age, your mouth produces less saliva, which can lead to dry mouth. Some medications, like urinary incontinence drugs and antihypertensive medicines, can decrease the production of saliva even more. Saliva helps rinse away bacteria, so people who suffer from dry mouth have a higher chance of tooth decay, cavities, and even tooth loss. If you have already lost some or all of your teeth because of dry mouth, dentures may be a viable option and can restore your beautiful smile.
More Exposed Roots
Your gums recede gradually as you age, which exposes the roots of the teeth. The roots are not protected by a thick layer of enamel like the rest of the tooth, making them more vulnerable to decay and sensitivity, especially when you consume foods that are hot or cold.
Higher Risk of Gum Disease
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar along the gum line. As people age, it becomes harder to maintain healthy teeth because of things like dry mouth and receding gums, so periodontitis can develop. If you are concerned about your risk of gum disease or fear you already have it, your dentist can perform a thorough exam and devise a treatment plan to prevent or manage it.
If you want to protect your teeth and gums as you age, you can start by visiting a dentist every six months. Randall A. Ellis DDS is a family dentist in Texarkana, AR, who treats patients of all ages. He understands the challenges of maintaining a healthy mouth, but he will help you devise a reasonable action plan to do just that.
Remember: It is never too late to start taking care of your teeth. If you have already lost teeth due to damage or decay, Dr. Ellis will discuss your options, which might include dentures, and show you how to care for your new smile moving forward. Visit his practice’s website to learn more about the restorative and cosmetic dentistry procedures they provide, and call (870) 772-1374 to make an appointment with Randall A. Ellis DDS today.