Age and Dental health

Age and dental health

Rockford Dentist - The Teeth People

As you age, it becomes even more important to take good care of your teeth and dental health. One common misconception is that losing your teeth is inevitable. This is not true. If cared for properly, your teeth can last a lifetime.

 

Your mouth changes as you age. The nerves in your teeth can become smaller, making your teeth less sensitive to cavities or other problems. If you don’t get regular dental exams, this in turn can lead to these problems not being diagnosed until it is too late.

If you want to feel good, stay healthy, and look great throughout life, you might be surprised what a difference a healthy mouth makes.

Just because you've got a few gray hairs doesn't mean you're out of the woods when it comes to cavities, either. The rate of tooth decay in people over 65 now outpaces that of schoolchildren. A prime target of dental caries in older adults is around the neck of the tooth, adjacent to the gum line. Gum tissue naturally recedes with age, so the soft root tissue becomes exposed.

 

In addition, adults who grew up before the advent of fluoride products and dental sealants often have fillings from childhood and adolescence that eventually break down. Decay around the edges of those fillings is also a problem.

The well-being of your aging mouth is tied to the health of the rest of your body. There's mounting evidence of an association between gum inflammation and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory problems, all of which are more prevalent in later life. Scientists postulate that bacteria from gum infections travel through the bloodstream to trigger inflammation in organs and tissues at distant sites.

For diabetes, a disease that afflicts nearly a quarter of Americans over age 60, the cause and effect may go in both directions. Over the years, uncontrolled blood sugar damages the blood vessels that supply the gums, so they become susceptible to infection, which accelerates periodontal disease. High blood sugar also translates into increased sugar in oral fluids for bacteria to feed on. Conversely, inflammation from oral infection may increase the body's resistance to insulin, leading to greater difficulty in keeping blood sugar under control.

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