As we age, our oral health needs change. At Smileboston Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry, we have found that while today’s seniors are more active and staying healthy longer, they can also face serious oral health conditions. And though dental health trends of older Americans may seem obvious, the reasons behind them are a bit more complicated. To help our patients get a better understanding of the aging process we’ve listed a few ways it can impact your dental care.
Connection Between Aging & Oral Health
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, nearly 54 million Americans over the age of 50 are affected by osteoporosis. More common among women, this chronic condition causes bones to gradually deteriorate and become more brittle over time. This process can also cause teeth to grow weak, increasing the risk of loss and, eventually, leading to a need for tooth repair.
As people age, the ability to produce saliva decreases—especially when taking medications that cause dry mouth as a side effect. In addition to being uncomfortable, the lack of saliva can make it difficult to rinse away bacteria and food particles throughout the day. Without this protection, the risk of cavities and oral infections greatly increases.
Shrinking blood vessels are a common problem among seniors. This reduces the blood flow to nerves and making it more difficult for people to detect certain sensations—including pain. This can make it more difficult for individuals to tell if they’re experiencing oral health problems that require immediate attention.
Immune systems tend to lose their strength later in life, which, in turn, can make it hard for the body to fight off infections, such as gum disease. Affecting more than 17% of adults who are 65 or older, gum disease is a serious problem that can cause gum recession and tooth loss, and it can increase other health risks, such as heart disease and diabetes.
While aging may increase the risk of certain oral health problems, employing a good oral health care regimen, including regular hygiene visits, can keep issues at bay. Smileboston Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry offers comprehensive dental care ranging from general and laser dentistry to full smile makeovers and gum recession therapy at one of our two offices in Brookline, MA and on Boston’s South Shore. Visit Smileboston online to learn more about our full menu of services and call (617) 277-4100 to schedule an appointment at our Brookline location or (781) 826-7577 to reach our South Shore office.