There is nothing you can do about ageing, but there is a lot you can do to reduce its impact on your health, including your mouth. It’s hard to imagine that even just a century ago, wearing dentures in older age was a foregone conclusion. Nowadays, around three-quarters of people over age 65 will still have at least some of their natural teeth, but ageing does increase the risk of common dental problems like tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer. Regular preventative dentistry in Clarington can help tremendously in reducing the effects of ageing, and ensure you enjoy a healthy and attractive smile in later years.
Wear and Tear on Your Teeth
Each day, your teeth put up with a lot. For a start, they must cope with over 200 pounds of pressure as you bite and chew food. They are exposed to acid from the foods you eat, and which is also produced by mouth bacteria. It is hardly surprising that all this wear and tear can thin tooth enamel and can wear the biting edges of teeth. You might notice your teeth look shorter as they wear down or that the biting edges look more transparent or almost bluish. Also, as tooth enamel thins it exposes the dentin underneath containing the natural colour of your teeth and which is darker than enamel. Therefore, as you age your teeth gradually look darker while consuming lots of highly coloured foods or acidic foods can increase discolouration.
It’s easy to imagine tooth decay is confined to the young, but in fact, people aged over 65 can get cavities. Often tooth decay will develop around the neck of the tooth and where the gum tissue has receded. Receding gum tissue exposes the tooth root which is softer and more easily decayed. Preventative dental care in Newcastle has changed over the past few decades with the introduction of dental sealants and fluoridated products that have improved oral health in younger people. Adults who grew up before these products were introduced may have older fillings that eventually begin to leak, increasing the risk of cavities.
Another risk is dry mouth, a condition that is a frequent side-effect of prescription medications. Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable but increases the risk of tooth decay, and gum disease as saliva is a protective fluid that helps to keep your mouth clean and fresh.
Maintaining Good Oral Health as You Age
Every person visiting our practice receives a custom preventative treatment plan based on their age and oral health. We can assess your current oral health and can design a plan to minimize the effects of ageing, helping you to maintain a healthy mouth and which will protect and preserve your natural teeth. For example, if you have dry mouth, we can recommend solutions that will help counteract this side-effect such as more frequent dental cleanings to keep your mouth cleaner, reducing your risk of dental disease.
If you are missing teeth, we can talk to you about the best way to replace them, restoring your ability to smile and eat confidently and comfortably. Often, dental implants in Courtice are an excellent and long-lasting option. If you feel your smile doesn’t reflect the way feel, ask us about cosmetic dentistry as treatments such as teeth whitening can help to restore your once sparkling smile to its former glory.
Protecting Your General Health
Looking after your oral health helps to protect your overall health too. Many serious health problems are closely linked to dental health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. Your regular dental checkups include screenings for oral cancer, a disease that causes relatively few symptoms, but which is much more treatable when detected early.