The Importance of Maintaining your Oral Health
It is easy to forget that your oral health is vital to your overall health. But as we age, our dental health remains important.
Good oral hygiene can reduce the risks of diseases, such as diabetes, and cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. It can also increase the quality of life. Dental professionals recommend you visit your dentist’s office at least every six months. In 2009, there were over 830,000 emergency departments that reported seniors coming in for treatment for dental issues that were preventable. Seniors have specific dental needs. Many seniors take medications for various reasons. Many of these medications have side effects like dry mouth. This can contribute to cavities, periodontal disease, and fungal infections. Having good oral health means being free of pain, and the ability to adequately eat and speak. Of people over the age of 60, 75% do not have all of their natural teeth. Nearly 23% of adults 65-74 have severe gum disease.
Oral health is also a factor of physical appearance. Many seniors are self-conscious of the way their teeth look. A way to keep your teeth looking good into old age is to keep them healthy. As we age, our teeth darken. Whether from decay or staining, this is an issue for a lot of people. When it is caused by aging, the bone-like tissue that underlies the tooth enamel can become dark. Teeth can also appear a darker yellow as the outer enamel layer thins.A diminished sense of taste is also a concern for seniors. Many older adults wear dentures, which can diminish the sense of taste as well as identifying touch and texture.
Tooth decay is caused by exposure of the tooth root to decay-causing acids. As we age, it is more likely that we will come in contact with these acids. When a tooth starts to decay, the roots become exposed as gum tissue recedes from the tooth. Roots do not have any enamel to protect them, and they are more prone to decay than the crown part of the tooth.
Gum disease is caused by plaque and can be made worse by food left in the teeth. The use of tobacco, ill-fitting dentures, poor diets, and certain diseases also pose threats to your gum health. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss, and more mildly, discomfort and sensitivity.
Make an appointment to see your dentist! Don’t wait until you are in pain, or notice something off to see your dentist. The best way to take care of your teeth is to maintain their health.
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below!
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