Natural changes occur throughout your body as you get older. Healing slows down, tissues like gums become thinner and weaker, and the bones supporting your teeth lose strength.
Everyday wear and tear also have an impact. Years of chewing and biting take a toll, slowly removing the enamel and increasing your risk for cavities and cracked teeth.
All these age-related changes raise your risk for dental problems that cause tooth loss. Our team at Restora Dental Arts in Austin, Texas, works closely with adults, helping them keep their teeth in prime condition with preventive dental care and tips they can follow at home to lower their risk of tooth loss.
Dental challenges as you age
The top dental challenges that increase your risk for tooth loss include:
Adults often develop a dry mouth from medications or chronic health conditions like diabetes. Lack of saliva leads to cavities and gum disease, the top causes of tooth loss. A dry mouth can also lead to mouth sores and difficulty swallowing and speaking.
Gum disease and receding gums (another age-related problem) go hand-in-hand. Receding gums make it easier for bacteria to accumulate and cause a gum infection. At the same time, gum disease caused by tartar and bacteria leads to receding gums.
No matter which condition comes first, receding gums and gum disease lead to tooth loss.
Preventing dental problems
Here are four tips to prevent dental problems as you get older:
Keep up with dental hygiene
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that the best way to prevent age-related dental problems is to keep up with your dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing twice every day remains the cornerstone of preventive care.
Get routine dental check-ups.
Regular dental check-ups are essential as you get older. Visiting us every six months is the best investment you can make in keeping your teeth healthy.
Professional teeth cleaning eliminates the plaque and tartar that cause gum disease. We may also recommend special fluoride rinses or treatments to help protect your teeth.
Routine dental care allows us to find and treat cavities, cracked teeth, and receding gums at an early stage. Without early treatment, cavities and cracks allow bacteria to get inside your teeth, leading to inflammation that causes gum disease and erodes the bones supporting your teeth.
During your checkups, we also look for signs of more significant problems like mouth sores or changes signaling cancer.
Follow a healthy diet
The foods you eat have a positive or negative impact on your teeth. A well-balanced diet packed with lean meat, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and low-fat dairy products keeps your gums, teeth, jawbone, and mouth healthy.
At the same time, a diet high in sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and acidic products causes major dental problems. Lemon juice, sodas, fruit juices, sports drinks, and sour candies are exceptionally high in acid that erodes tooth enamel.
Deal with dry mouth
Drinking water throughout the day and using over-the-counter rinses or moisturizers relieve dry mouth. We can also suggest products that improve dry mouth and offer additional protection against tooth decay.
If your dry mouth is severe, your physician may need to adjust the medications you take or prescribe medications that boost saliva production.
If you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar within the healthy range is crucial for your physical and dental health. High blood sugar dramatically increases your risk of tooth decay and advanced gum disease (periodontitis).
High blood sugar also damages your nerves and blood vessels, leading to foot ulcers, diabetic eye disease (and vision loss), kidney disease, and heart disease.
Get proactive now to prevent tooth loss
Scheduling a check-up is the best step to ensure aging doesn’t catch up with your teeth. If you’re putting off dental care because of anxiety, we can help. We keep you comfortable and pain-free with sedation dentistry.
If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, call Restora Dental Arts or book online today.