As people age, specific dental problems develop that may not affect younger mouths. Being aware of preventative measures, or identifying symptoms problematic to aging, results in healthier gums and teeth. Maintaining a healthy mouth is as vital as routine check- ups with the doctor.
Replace or Cap Old Fillings
Timeworn fillings are prime areas for tooth decay. Over time, the daily wear of chewing or grinding may cause fillings to pull away from the enamel. This "leaking" process allows bacteria to enter and create an acid that erodes the filling. There is no process for removal of the bacterium once inside the tooth. Often, this damage remains undetected until infection reaches the nerve, creating pain and tooth loss.
Seal or Bond Receding Gums
As aging sets in, the gum tissue recedes from the top enamel of teeth. Consequences of receding gums will expose tooth roots causing sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
A fluoride mouth rinse or toothpaste specifically made for sensitive teeth may alleviate the pain. However, if the problem persists, a professional may need to seal or bond the roots. In extreme cases, correction includes a soft tissue graft. A tissue graft utilizes material from another area of the mouth to cover the exposed roots.
Noticeable in some seniors is a yellow tint discoloration of their teeth. This is the caused by the bone-like tissue under the enamel referred to as dentin. When the outer layer of enamel wears away, the natural yellow tint of dentin becomes visible. While not always related to dental health problems, the discoloration may be undesirable.
Over-the-counter teeth whitening options are available for all ages with varied results. However, if desired results are not accomplished, a professional in cosmetic dentistry, like the ones at Carolina Forest Family Dentistry, may be needed. Such a professional can often remove or cover tooth stains with techniques such as:
- Ultrasonic Cleaning
- Teeth Whitening Trays
- Laser Teeth Whitening
- Dental Veneers
Saliva is extremely important when it comes to tooth health, as it is responsible for removing bacteria and plaque buildup. However, aging can cause the mouth to lose moisture increasing tooth decay, mouth sores and infection. In addition, saliva also contains minerals effective in strengthening the teeth.
Natural ways to increase saliva include increasing water intake or eating sour fruit as puckering triggers saliva release. A pharmacist may also recommend an over-the-counter remedy to increase saliva output.
Although this may happen at any age, some senior medications have the side effect of drying the mouth, so it is particularly evident in aging. On the next dental professional visit, compose a list of all current prescription drugs and doses. This will assist in designing a specific dental plan treatment.