The Importance of Oral Health as You Age

 In Dental Hygiene

Unfortunately, as we get older, we tend to focus more on our physical health and sometimes neglect our oral and dental health. Neglecting your oral health causes you to not only experience an increase in dental problems, such as tooth loss, periodontal disease, and cavities, but it can affect your whole-body health too.

The following statistics show you just some of the many ways your oral health affects your whole-body health.

  • The connection between periodontal disease and heart disease – people with periodontal disease are two to three times as likely to experience a severe stroke or heart attack.
  • Increased cases of pneumonia – Bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease can be inhaled and increase your chances of developing severe pneumonia or other upper respiratory diseases.
  • Insulin resistance – severe gum disease can cause your body to be unable to properly use or process insulin which can result in the development of pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Unique Dental Problems That Occur as You Age

Changes occur in your mouth as you age which result in dental and oral health problems you didn’t experience at a younger age. Some of the unique dental problems you might experience as you age include:

  • Dry mouth – increased use of prescription medications increases your chances of developing dry mouth. Untreated dry mouth can cause tooth loss, cavities, and gum disease.
  • Increased cavities – gums recede as you age which exposes the roots of your teeth. The enamel, the protective layer of your teeth, is not as strong on the roots which put you at an increased risk of experiencing tooth decay and cavities.
  • Shifting teeth and uneven bite – problems such as an uneven bite, uneven jawbone, and shifting teeth can occur if you don’t replace missing teeth. Also, many people as they age are more likely to opt to have teeth extracted instead of choosing other treatment options, such as root canals, and then not follow through with replacing them. And that leads to these types of problems.

Ways to Maintain Your Oral Health as You Age

While there is no way to completely prevent dental problems from occurring, there are things you can do that will help you maintain your oral health as you age. Try to incorporate some of the following things into your day-to-day routine:

  • Develop a good oral hygiene routine. Your routine should include brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day.
  • Learn proper brushing and flossing techniques so you are eliminating food particles and plaque that may be stuck on or around your teeth.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste.
  • Properly clean and maintain dental appliances, such as dental implants, dentures, or dental crowns.
  • Stay properly hydrated to prevent dry mouth. If you drink fluoridated water, it can also help strengthen your teeth.
  • Consider switching to an electric toothbrush. This is especially important for people with arthritis or those who suffer health problems that reduce any strength in the hand.
  • Actively work to quit smoking.
  • Work with your healthcare provider to learn how to manage any serious health issues, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Schedule regular routine examinations and professional cleanings with your dentist every four to six months.

Work with a Dentist who is Familiar with Dental Problems That Occur as You Age

Our dentists at Providence Dentistry have experience dealing with various problems that occur as you age. Whether you just need help maintaining your oral health or you experience problems, such as dry mouth or tooth loss, our dentists at Providence Dentistry can help.

Don’t neglect your oral health a moment longer. Call our office today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to welcoming you to our dental family.

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