As we age there may be a temptation to become a little relaxed about preventative dental care. We often go to extra effort to ensure that our children’s dental health is monitored so any problems will be caught and dealt with early, but find we are less vigilant about our own dental health. This is a mistake. While there are dental conditions that can arise at any age in life, there are often more specific ones that show up during certain stages. Adulthood has a few dental challenges that tend to become more of a problem during this stage of life.
During later adulthood, patients often lose more teeth to periodontal disease than problems stemming from tooth decay. The good news is that this is a preventable condition in almost all cases. Regular visits to the dentist will help catch the symptoms of periodontal disease as they begin.
Another problem that shows up more often in adulthood than childhood are oral cancers. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by a dentist during a routine exam.
Dental fillings can also begin to break down. Generally fillings have a life expectancy of 8-10 years. If they begin to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them. If this happens, the decay can go deep into the tooth and lead to greater damage often necessitating a root canal and crown.
As we age, losing a tooth often becomes an issue at some point. This causes a series of other problems to arise. Having a tooth extracted can cause the remaining teeth in your mouth to shift and drift into the now empty space. This can then cause problems with your temporomandibular joint. Teeth that have shifted are also harder to keep clean and can lead to a greater chance of decay occurring.
Preventative dental care is important during every stage of life. In addition to a good home oral care routine, it is important to schedule regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist. Your dentist will carefully monitor your oral health and address any problems before they increase in severity.
As part of a personal oral care routine there are a few things to remember. Healthy teeth are clean and have no cavities. Healthy gums are firm and pink.
- To maintain healthy teeth and gums, aim to brush for 2 minutes, twice a day with a soft bristle toothbrush.
- Floss at least once a day, ideally, before brushing your teeth.
- Using a fluoride toothpaste will strengthen your tooth enamel and help prevent cavities.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet, avoiding sweets and sweetened drinks. If you do eat or drink sweets, try to brush your teeth soon afterward. Eating and drinking a lot of sugar increases your risk of tooth decay.
- Be aware of any changes in your mouth and report them to your dentist as soon as possible.
- Do not smoke. Smokers have more teeth and gum problems than non-smokers and this risk only increases as we age.
Here at Primary Dental we offer other dental services that you may be interested in. We provide orthodontic treatments, including invisalign. Invisalign has become a popular alternative to traditional braces, it is a great option for adults and teens and is less conspicuous than braces.
We also offer some cosmetic dentistry options as well as dentures, mouthguards and night guards. Please ask our staff about any of these procedures that you may have questions on. We are happy to assist you in exploring your options for all your oral health care needs.