How Age Can Affect Oral Health

How Age Can Affect Oral Health

Your teeth have served you well over the years, but now you’re facing increasing problems with your dental health. You‘re not alone. Age can have a significant impact on your oral health, which explains why an eye-opening 20% of people over the age of 65 in the United States are missing all of their teeth.

At our practice, Dr. AnnMarie Olson and our experienced and qualified team specialize in restorative and general dentistry, and we offer the tools and services you need to safeguard your oral health. 

To give you an idea about what we’re up against, here’s a closer look at how age can affect your oral health.

A loss of enamel

You may notice your teeth are turning yellow, despite your efforts to keep them white and bright, which is the visible sign that your enamel is wearing down. The enamel that covers and protects your teeth is incredibly strong, but years of wear and tear can cause this hard substance to naturally break down. 

The reason why your teeth may become more yellow is that, as your enamel breaks down, it allows more of the brown dentin inside your teeth to show through.

While the cosmetic aspect of enamel loss may be discouraging, the more serious consequence is that your teeth are less able to ward off tooth decay. This vulnerability to cavities plays no small role on the eye-opening number we introduced above (one in five people over 65 have lost all of their teeth).

Receding gums

Another problem you may face as you age is receding gums. As your gums pull back, your teeth lose this extra layer of protection. As well, your gums may start to pull away from your teeth, allowing harmful bacteria to get inside your teeth and gums. 

To put some numbers to this problem, two out of three people over the age of 65 in the US have some degree of periodontitis, or gum disease.

Along with tooth decay, gum disease is a leading driver of tooth loss.

Dry mouth

Another common problem that develops with age is dry mouth, which is caused by a lack of saliva. Your production of saliva naturally wanes with age, but many people also take medications that contribute to the problem. 

Your saliva serves many purposes, and clearing out bacteria is a major one. Without adequate saliva to flush away germs, your teeth are more prone to decay and cavities.

Preserving your dental health

Of course, there’s not much we can do to stop aging, but we can take the necessary steps to preserve or restore your dental health. 

First, it’s important to keep up with your regular appointments with us so we can spot potential problems before they threaten your teeth and gums. During these visits, we thoroughly clean your teeth and take X-rays to detect any tooth decay that isn’t readily visible. If we identify any cavities, we can quickly clear away the decay and put in a filling. 

We can also monitor the health of your gums, and if we notice evidence of periodontitis, we can perform a deep clean to clear away the infectious materials.

Between your diligent at-home care and your dental exams and cleanings with us, there’s much we can do to preserve the health of your teeth and gums as you age.

If you do incur tooth loss or damage, we offer full mouth rehabilitation services that include:

Rest assured, if your oral health is starting to decline because of age, we’re with you every step of the way, ensuring you maintain dental function.

For comprehensive care of your oral health at any age, contact our office in Austin, Texas, to schedule your dental exam today.

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