Aging can affect nearly every aspect of your health, and no matter how healthy your mouth may have been in the past you may now begin to notice an increase in certain problems. Just as the way you can control many negative effects of aging though diet, exercise and seeing your doctor, you can also make some positive moves to control your dental health status. Many seniors are often affected by the below four issues, so read on to learn more about dealing with those issues.
1. Gum Problems
As you age, you no longer have as much of an ability to fight off infections. Since your mouth just naturally contains a lot of bacteria, you may end up suffering from a couple of dental conditions caused by infection from that bacteria. The problem usually occurs when bacteria is allowed to seep into your gum area through a broken tooth, a cavity or an opening (like a cut) in the gum area. If you notice a bit of blood on your toothbrush or some feelings of tenderness when brushing, you may have gingivitis. If this gum disorder progresses when left untreated, it can turn into an even more serious problem, periodontitis. See your dentist right away to prevent things from getting worse and affecting your general health.
2. Loss of Teeth
Missing teeth are undoubtedly unattractive, but the problem goes beyond appearances. Your teeth all depend on the presence of each to help prevent them from shifting around. When teeth shift, they become loose, which can create a domino effect that can put your entire mouth at risk for tooth loss. Additionally, you may become more vulnerable to cavities, tooth breakage and gum diseases with teeth movements. Dentures, bridges and implants all provide a solution to replace those missing teeth and keep those pearly whites in place.
3. Dry Mouth
Feeling parched is not only uncomfortable, it could lead to worse problems. As you age, saliva production can slow down, a tendency that is worsened by medication side effects and certain medical conditions, like diabetes. Since your saliva acts like a cleaning and refreshing tool for your mouth, it can help prevent gum disease and cavities. Fortunately, this problem can be alleviated by the use of over-the-counter preventatives like Oasis and Biotene.
4. Oral Cancel
This sounds like a serious problem, and it is. Making it even more problematic is just how difficult it can be to detect oral cancer in its early stages. Oropharyngeal cancer often presents initially with very tiny bumps that cannot be seen or felt, at least by you. With a routine dental exam, however, you may be diagnosed early enough that this type of oral cancer has a very good chance of being cured. Don't put off that exam, it could end up saving your life.
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