We all reach that point in our lives when we come to the realization that we are getting significantly older. This realization often hits people right around the age of 50, the half-century mark of our lives. It is right around this time when you may notice that you have more wrinkles around your eyes and on your neck. In addition, you need reading glasses to peruse the menu at your favorite eatery and you say “what?” a lot more than you want to. You may also notice a decline in dental health.
Your body goes through drastic changes during puberty, which is why most of us would never want to go through that again. But what many of you don’t know is that your body will once again go through some pretty drastic changes after the age of 50. Dental issues that you thought you would never have to deal with again might start cropping up if you aren’t careful. And while the occasional cavity is nothing to lose sleep over, there are some pretty serious dental problems you will want to avoid. James W. Mellert, your dentist in Torrance, gives you a few examples.
Cavities are fairly common and easily resolved, but as your teeth get older, decay becomes more of a problem. Cavities can become more prevalent around old fillings. Regular visits to your dental office will help prevent tooth decay.
The older you get, the higher the risk of oral cancer. Your best defense against this scary and devastating disease is early detection. Regular dental checkups are the best way to catch this disease in the early stages.
As you age, the more your teeth are prone to shifting. Gradually, your teeth become overcrowded and you notice that food is more likely to get stuck between your teeth. You also have a more difficult time flossing. If this is happening to you, pay a visit to your dentist for options.
Dry mouth is a side effect of many medications older people may be taking. In addition to making it uncomfortable to eat and all around rather annoying, dry mouth can cause bad breath and damage your teeth. This is a pretty common condition in older patients but can be resolved by drinking more water throughout the day. If the condition persists, schedule an appointment with your family dentist.
If your gums are red, swollen and tend to bleed, the culprit could be gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into gum disease, which is quite serious and can lead to complications including tooth loss. Again, regular dental visits can help prevent this disease.
Tooth darkening is a natural effect of aging. The hard tissue covering your teeth, known as enamel, wears away and exposes the darker dentin underneath it. If you smoke, drink coffee or other foods that stain, your teeth become discolored over the years.
Caring for aging teeth is important, here is what you can do to minimize problems.
Dentists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush to keep your teeth clean. A soft-bristled brush is comfortable and prevents damage to the tooth enamel and gums. You should be brushing your teeth in the morning, at night before bed and after each meal. Dentists recommend a two to three minute cleaning time.
If you are suffering arthritis or otherwise find it difficult to brush your teeth, you can try an electric toothbrush.
Flossing should be a daily event as it is the best way to remove sticky bacteria from your teeth. Flossing allows you to reach places you can’t with your toothbrush. But keep in mind that flossing can damage gums, teeth and dental work if you aren’t careful.
If you have missing teeth, consider having implants. This procedure does involve surgery, but provides a permanent solution to tooth loss and tooth damage. Implants work by connecting a metal post into the jawbone and then attaching a dental implant by screwing it into place. The implant integrates to your bone and looks like a natural tooth.
Dentures are also an option if you have missing teeth.
If it has been a while since you have seen your dentist, give James W. Mellert a call.