Prioritizing your oral health is essential in all stages of life. However, aging can bring changes to the teeth and mouth, making it particularly crucial to watch over your mouth and dental hygiene during these later years.  

However, even with the changes, you must strive to keep your teeth strong and healthy. If you don’t visit a dentist regularly, this, in turn, can result in oral problems not being diagnosed until it’s too late. In the worst-case scenario, these problems would cause you to lose most of your teeth. Older people, in particular, are more prone to losing their teeth as they age. After all, certain oral health conditions are more common in older adults.

Here’s what you need to know about how your oral health changes over time and what you can do to prevent dental health problems.

How Does Oral Health Change Over Time? 

 Specific changes occur in your bodies as you age, such as: 

  • Slower renewal rate for your body cells  
  • Thinner and less elastic body tissues  
  • Weaker and more brittle bones 
  • Weaker immune system resulting in infections or getting sick easily  

These changes affect the tissue and bone in your mouth, which will raise the risk for dental health problems in your older years. As you age, you’ll also start to notice changes to your teeth and gums. Yes, these changes are natural, but they also cause pain, discomfort, and dental complications.  

One of the most common ways your teeth change with age is sensitivity. As you get older, the nerves in your teeth may grow smaller, making your teeth less receptive to cavities, temperature, pain, and other problems. At the same time, your gum tissues decline, heightening your tooth’s sensitivity since the tooth’s root tissue becomes exposed.  

What Oral Health Problems Should Older People Be Aware Of? 

During the aging process, these foreseen natural changes to your teeth and mouth and other environmental factors can increase the risk of contracting dental health problems. Skilled and experienced dentists from https://www.chapnickdental.com/ can help diagnose these problems and ensure that they’re treated right away.

Here are some of the oral diseases you need to be aware of: 

1. Gum disease and periodontitis  

Periodontitis, otherwise known as gum disease, occurs when bacteria grow in your mouth. The bacteria are the culprit in the destruction of the tissue that surrounds your teeth. This may result in tooth loss if not treated immediately. . 

2. Tooth decay due to cavities 

Older adults are known to have the highest rates of tooth decay. Cavities that are building up in your teeth cause tooth decay if left uncleaned. You can even get tooth decay if you find it hard to clean your teeth consistently, and you prefer to eat plenty of sugary foods all the time. Thankfully, tooth decay can be prevented if you pay more attention to proper hygiene and follow a strict dental health routine. 

3. Dry mouth 

As you get older, the natural amount of saliva that your mouth has decreases. This leads to a dry mouth. In some cases, dry mouth can also be caused by certain medications, especially since older adults tend to take maintenance medications. To prevent dry mouth, drink more water daily and always rehydrate. 

4. Oral cancer 

There’s a chance you could develop cancer on your mouth, lips, tongue, and throat, especially at a later age. To prevent this, live a healthy lifestyle and try to avoid alcohol and smoking. Pain isn’t always an early symptom, which is why it’s important to regularly visit your dentist for checkups. Prevention will always be better than cure. 

Remember that the loss of tooth sensitivity will make it more challenging for older people to notice cavities and other issues when these happen. Hence, they’re more prone to have dental health problems that are already critical and hard to treat when they see their dentist.

How To Care For Your Dental Health As You Age? 

Even though aging can increase your risk for oral health concerns, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to have strong and healthy teeth. One typical misconception people have is that losing your teeth is inevitable and is always bound to happen to everyone. This is definitely not true. If you practice good oral hygiene consistently, it’s possible to keep a healthy set of teeth for a lifetime. 

Here are a few things you can do to take care of your dental health as you age:

 

  • Brush your teeth daily with soft bristles. 
  • Floss between your teeth at least once per day. 
  • Clean your dentures daily and remove them at night. 
  • Drink fluoridated tap water. 
  • Quit smoking and drinking alcohol. 
  • Visit a dentist for routine checkups dental cleaning.

Keep It Young

Aging brings inevitable changes to your dental and oral health. Nonetheless, you can still keep your teeth and gums healthy by following those tips mentioned above. With the help your dentist, you’re sure to have a healthy set of teeth to go with your beautiful smile.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "How Your Oral Health Changes As You Age," in Medicalopedia, December 16, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/9457/how-your-oral-health-changes-as-you-age/].