It’s no secret that aging is not always pretty, and the mouth is no exception. Thus, when it comes to the teeth and gums, extra care and attention are necessary. To explain, it’s common for aging individuals to take prescription medications for various health conditions, from high blood pressure to anxiety and autoimmune disorders. Knowing how these medications impact oral health is important. In the same way, for individuals with Diabetes, it’s wise to consider how blood sugar levels affect dental health and vice versa. Without question, oral health changes with age, but there is a lot that can be done to maintain good oral health.
Harvard Health Publishing explains that although teeth are amazingly strong, they are not indestructible. A lifetime of crunching, gnawing and grinding wears away the outer layer of tooth enamel. Acidic foods and beverages dissolve portions of tooth enamel, while the biting edges become flattened. When enamel is weakened through wear and tear, individuals pose a greater risk of decay and tooth loss.
In turn, an aging smile might begin to appear dull and dim. Though tooth enamel becomes discolored by exposure to pigmented foods and beverages, the wearing away of the protective layer also exposes a much yellower dentin. Meanwhile, as gum tissues pull away from teeth, it is much easier for periodontal disease to develop. This is the primary culprit leading to tooth loss in aging adults, as plaque builds up between the tooth and gum tissues over time.
Aside from wear and tear, discoloration and receding gums, the aging mouth is subject to lifestyle factors such as smoking and tobacco use. This contributes to dry mouth, as well as lesions that could turn into cancer. With this in mind, it’s clear that while some age-related mouth changes are inevitable, others can be avoided. Perhaps the best way to combat changes in your oral health is to go back to the basics—brushing and flossing twice each day and visiting the dentist regularly.
Grateful Dental is a family dental practice led by Dr. Leia Porcaro. Our team is equipped to handle every facet of your smile, through every stage of life. Best of all, we provide personal and comfortable dental care services to help you achieve optimal oral health.