Many of us spend all our lives striving to keep our oral health under control and prevent the onset of gum diseases like gingivitis. Through all the stages of our life, we have to contend with our changing bodies and what that brings with it for our oral health. Even our oral health changes as we age, regardless of how well we care for our teeth. One problem that older dental patients face is the health concerns surrounding their gums. As a result, it’s essential that the gums of elderly patients receive specific care to help maintain their health and preserve their healthy smile.
Oral Health Changes Spurred By Aging
As we age, we begin to experience changes in our body that can have specific effects on oral health. Some of these are broad-reaching, including the decline in the body’s rate of healing and the loss of bone density. This latter is particularly common in older women. Both of these conditions affect all areas of the body, and your mouth is no exception. Gums, jawbone, and even teeth can all experience negative impacts as these changes take place. There are also concerns that are specific to your oral health that can occur as you age.
Older patients often struggle with dry mouth brought on by certain health conditions, medication, or just as a natural result of aging. Maintaining the correct environment for our teeth and gums is required to keep them healthy, and saliva plays a critical role in this. Saliva is our body’s first line of defense against decay and serves to keep our gums healthy. Gum disease, thrush (an oral yeast infection), mouth sores, and difficulty with eating can also result from dry mouth.
While dry mouth affects the health of your gums indirectly, your gums are also subject to concerns that directly involve them as we age. One of these problems is receding gums that pull away from our teeth, creating pockets for bacteria and food debris to build up. This can also be the result of brushing too hard or using the wrong kind of brush over the years. The advance of receding gums can be prevented through healthy habits such as not smoking, maintaining good dental hygiene practices, avoiding diabetes, and getting dental health care on a regular basis. Both dry mouth and gum concerns can play a role in the development of cavities, which are another serious risk in aging patients.
It’s critical that we understand how to manage our oral health effectively as we age to ensure that we have the best chance at a full life with a beautiful smile. Dr. Alan Martin and his team of dental professionals in Waco, TX, are available to help patients of every age make great choices for their oral health. As part of the regular dental care provided at Waco Dental, patients learn to make healthy choices for their oral health that will help them keep their smile looking great for years. Don’t let the ravages of age sneak up on you; start taking steps now to ensure your smile lasts.