Aging and oral health don’t have a great relationship with one another. As we grow older, we’re bound to face issues caused by aging. While some might avoid the fatigue, arthritis, and memory loss associated with entering seniority, very few of us can avoid dental problems. Our teeth are remarkably resilient—they withstand pressure, friction, and general wear and tear as we chew and clench our jaws.
However, they are prone to problems over time. This wear and tear has a serious impact on our teeth, and other conditions can aggravate our dental health. After all, your teeth aren’t the only thing you have to worry about; your gums and the inside of your mouth require care as well.
While many people suffer from tooth loss and periodontal disease as they grow older, modern dental care makes it possible to alleviate and avoid many of the dental issues associated with aging.
Full Dentures: No Longer Inevitable
Before dental advancements, total adult tooth loss (edentulism) was nearly unavoidable. Getting dentures or dental implants was a part of growing old and considered a fact of life. However, many people are avoiding full dentures, keeping some or many of their adult teeth as seniors. They might not require dentures at all or have partial dentures instead.
One study revealed that more seniors than ever are keeping their natural teeth, thanks to modern dentistry and devoted care. While lifestyle and genetics play a large part in oral health,your daily routine is what keeps your teeth and gums healthy. This includes brushing, flossing, and adequate mouth moisture.
Aging and Oral Health: The Importance of Daily Dental Care
As mentioned above, there are three primary pillars of daily oral hygiene.
Many young people don’t concern themselves with oral moisture unless they take medications or suffer from dry mouth. However, mouth moisture plays a large part in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Dry mouth can lead to bacteria growth, bad breath, tooth decay, and gum problems. Dry mouth can be combatted by drinking water, chewing sugarless gum and hard candies, and avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine.
Next is brushing and flossing, which seem obvious, but many seniors find it difficult to keep up with their daily routine. Mobility issues, arthritis, and low motor control can complicate matters of dental health. In these cases, simple is better. Instead of traditional floss and toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes and floss picks are more comfortable to use.
How Keeping Your Natural Teeth Benefits You
A discussion about aging and oral health wouldn’t be complete without mentioning dentures, dental implants, and our natural teeth. Obviously, keeping our natural teeth would be preferrable – we’ve lived with these teeth for many years, and adjusting to dentures or implants can be difficult.
There’s also the matter of mental health, and how our teeth play a role in how we feel. Many people suffering from adult tooth loss feel self-conscious, shy, or ashamed. They smile less and avoid social situations, leading to mental decline and depression. In fact, isolation is a significant factor in conditions like dementia.
By keeping our natural teeth healthy and clean, our self-confidence and general health are boosted. Dentists play a large role in maintaining oral health, so finding reliable care is essential. Whether you’re looking for a dentist or want to switch providers, Danville Family Dentistry has experience with aging and oral health. Call us at 317-745-4400, and feel free to ask questions or voice concerns.
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.