Many people believe that missing teeth and a “gummy” smile are a natural part of getting older — this simply isn’t true!
As you age, your mouth does need some extra attention, and there are a few issues that you should watch out for… after all what you don’t know can still hurt you! But thanks to advancements in dentistry, there’s absolutely no reason to live through your golden years with an unhealthy (or unattractive) smile.
Common dental problems to be aware of as you age
As you grow older, daily wear and tear and an aging immune system will being to take its toll, making you more susceptible to the following dental health concerns.
As you age, your immune system has a harder time fighting off bacteria and infection. This spells trouble for your gums. The effects of bacteria-filled plaque will be more difficult to avoid. Plus, other factors like changing nutritional and dietary habits, smoking, and diabetes can contribute to disease.
Gums start receding for a variety of reasons — many of which come down to the aging process. This can cause tooth sensitivity, pain, bacterial growth, gum disease, and even bone loss. Recession is a vicious cycle that won’t go away all on its own.
Tooth decay and loss
Your teeth have seen a lot of wear and tear over the years, so it’s not uncommon to deal with tooth breakdown and decay. Additionally, issues like gum disease or gum recession can weaken the bone and contribute to decay and total tooth loss.
Unhealthy teeth & gums leads to whole-body health issues
You’ve heard us say it before: Your dental health affects more than just your teeth and gums — it also plays a big role in your whole body health and wellness!
The bacteria that lives and grows in your mouth can travel throughout the body and can contribute to a number of serious health conditions.
When unhealthy teeth and gums are left to their own devices, bacteria will grow and run wild, seeping into the bloodstream through gum tissue or weakened teeth. This bacteria can contribute to inflamation and atheroscleroti plaque, leading to major cardiovascular issues, including heart attack and stroke.
Bacteria in the mouth can also find its way into the lungs! This can cause infections and increase your chance of pneumonia.
If you’re dealing with gum disease, your body will find it more difficult to control blood sugar levels. This is especially problematic for those with diabetes. Similarly, those with diabetes are more prone to developing gum disease, which can cause bone loss and gum recession.
Unhealthy teeth and gums also lead to an unhealthy appearance!
Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you lose interest in the way you look. But dental health issues can have a drastic effect on your appearance.
Consider the way gum recession gives your teeth an awkwardly long look. Or how missing or decaying teeth can completely alter your smile. No one wants that and it’s completely unnecessary!
Taking good care of your teeth does more than keep you in good health, it also ensures you’ll feel confident in your appearance, allowing you to age gracefully.
How to care for your teeth and gums as you age
You’ve been caring for your teeth your whole life so you already know the most important rules for good dental health: brushing and flossing twice a day!
These things remain important no matter your age. But now that you’re older and wiser, you may need to make a few small adjustments to your dental hygiene routine. There are 3 things in particular that you should keep in mind:
- You may need to take a gentler approach to brushing and flossing
- Plaque will build up more quickly than in years past and be more difficult to get rid of
- You may need to visit your dentist more than twice a year (and skipping appointments is not an option!)
Here’s how to handle the reality of these three changes.
Brush and floss more often
Although we always recommend brushing after every meal, many people only give their teeth attention in the morning and before bed. With age comes wisdom, so now’s the time to give that 3-times a day habit a go. Do your best to brush and floss after every meal. This will help stop plaque buildup and keep you from feeling like you need to vigorously scrub at your teeth to keep them clean.
Develop a good relationship with your dentist
You and your dentist are partners in the quest toward achieving healthy teeth and gums as you age. Working together is the only way to achieve the best results. That means asking lots of questions, bringing up any concerns or changes you’ve noticed, and following through on the recommendations of your dentist.
It also means partnering with a dentist who you trust and who provides the latest, most tech-forward treatments and equipment. Some important high-tech services your dentist should offer that will be vital for keeping your mouth healthy as you age include:
Fight gum recession as you age with PST
Are you suffering from gum recession and worried about how your whole body health might be suffering?
At Blodgett Dental Care in Portland, we offer the latest in high-tech gum recession treatments to help you protect your health as you age. Unlike traditional grafting techniques, the Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation treatment is both incision and suture-free and produces amazing results in just one session.
You’ll see immediate cosmetic improvements in your smile and have healthier, stronger gums, too. Schedule your consultation at Blodgett Dental Care today. We’re here to help your teeth and gums age healthfully and beautifully.