The 5 Biggest Dental Problems For People Over 50

It used to be that as people aged, they didn't keep many of their original teeth. Dentures and partials were the norm for many people over the age of fifty, but as dental practices and habits have improved, more and more people are keeping their natural teeth. This is wonderful, but there are dental problems that people over fifty should be aware of and be diligent in caring for their teeth.

 

1. Dry mouth

Saliva actually helps clean teeth regularly, and a dry mouth can be harmful to your teeth. One reason dry mouth is more common in older age is because it is a side effect of many medications, and taking medication is more common among older age groups.

A dry mouth doesn't necessarily mean you are thirsty all of the time, but it can mean bad breath, a sticky feeling in your mouth, and a hard time swallowing.  People who suffer from dry mouth can often fix it just by upping the amount of water they are sipping throughout the day or chewing sugar free gum. If dry mouth persists, a dentist can possibly prescribe something stronger.

2. Gingivitis

If your gums are red, swollen, and bleed easily, gingivitis is probably the culprit. Gingivitis left untreated can turn into gum disease, which can lead to even more problems, pockets of infection, and eventually loss of teeth. It is a very serious and severe dental problem. Gum disease is easily prevented with regular dental visits and dental care.

3. Tooth decay

Tooth decay is a problem as your teeth age because it will happen in places where it normally wouldn't have years ago. Cavities might become common around old fillings, close to the gums near the root, which can become soft and more exposed, and on the surface of your enamel. Regular dental visits and possibly a boost in fluoride will help prevent tooth decay.

4. Oral Cancer

The chance of having oral cancer rises as a person gets older and the best defense against surviving it is early detection. If your dentist does not check for oral cancer during a normal dental check up, it might be time to switch dentists. It is extremely important to have this done regularly even if you have never been a heavy drinker or smoker.

5. Overcrowding teeth

The older a person gets, the more their teeth shift. Teeth get overcrowded gradually and people might not notice until food starts getting stuck between teeth easier or they have a harder time flossing. An orthodontist can sometimes fix the overcrowding with a retainer, but most likely, overcrowding teeth just need more frequent cleanings to get in between the hard to reach places to prevent tooth decay.

The key to a healthy mouth and set of teeth is to make regular dental visits for preventative care. Teeth need to be cleaned regularly and gums and teeth should be monitored closely for changes and decay. People who keep up their dental care and healthy dental habits enjoy a beautiful smile well into their golden years.

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