Age, by itself, isn’t a significant factor in the state of your oral health. For instance, contrary to popular belief, teeth aren’t naturally lost as you grow older. Nevertheless, time does have an effect on your smile, and dental care for seniors often means taking into consideration circumstances that are specific to our more mature patients.
Time’s Effect on Your Teeth and Gums
Your teeth are more than showpieces that liven up your smile; they’re also responsible for processing your food, enunciating your words clearly, and supporting facial structures that surround them. Over time, teeth and the highly-mineralized enamel that protects them may grow weak from excessive wear and tear, dulling your teeth’s appearance and possibly making them more sensitive. Your gum tissue, which should create a tight seal where they meet your teeth, can also loosen and recede from years of bite pressure, making you more susceptible to destructive gum disease.
What to Watch Out For
As the dynamics of your dental health change, you may experience a number of changes to the visual aspects of your teeth and gums, including;
- Darkened teeth, usually caused by changes to the bone-like dentin underneath the semi-translucent enamel. Dentin comprises the majority of your tooth’s structure, and is responsible for the pearly-white (or otherwise) shade of your teeth.
- Dry mouth, or the substantial decline of saliva production, can result from a number of issues, including certain medications and some medical conditions that affect your salivary glands. Saliva is your mouth’s natural defense against oral bacteria, and a lack of it can increase your risk of bacteria-induced issues like cavities and aggressive gum disease.
- Tooth loss, although not natural, is still common among older patients. In fact, by age 74, approximately 26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth, most often due to advanced gum disease.
- Limited movement, such as in your joints if you have arthritis, can limit your ability to effectively brush and floss your teeth every day. By affecting your dental hygiene practices, conditions that inhibit your full range of movement can also increase your risk of developing a dental disease.
About Your Livonia Dentist:
As an experienced family dentist, Dr. James Stewart is highly-skilled at caring seniors who require special attention, given their particular circumstances. James Steward, DDS, and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.