3 Common Dental Concerns You May Experience as a Senior
You only get one set of teeth in your lifetime, but the great news is that your teeth WILL last a lifetime with proper care and regular visits to your dentist. Everyone knows that it’s important to regularly brush and floss your teeth. Fighting plaque and tartar buildup is essential if you want to get as many miles as possible out of your teeth. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy with regular maintenance will also reduce the probability of getting full or partial dentures later in life.
As you age, however, you may develop greater risk for certain dental conditions. Caring for your teeth as a senior isn’t too much different than other stages in your life, but there are some important things you should be aware of as you get older. Here are three common concerns I regularly address in senior dental care:
1. Sensitivity – As you get older, your gums will naturally begin to recede. This exposes areas of your teeth that are not necessarily protected by your tooth’s enamel. These exposed areas may be more sensitive to pain, or hot and cold foods. For most tooth sensitivity concerns, switching to a toothpaste that addresses sensitivity may be all that is needed. Your dentist, however, should investigate any tooth sensitivity you experience because it may be an indication of something more serious such as a crack. It’s common for patients to have tiny cracks in their teeth for long periods of time and not even be aware of it.
2. Dry Mouth – Saliva helps prevent tooth decay. If you aren’t producing enough of it, it can lead to cavities, bad breath, and poor gum health. Many seniors take medications that cause dry mouth, or that can directly affect their oral health in other ways. Your oral health is a big part of your overall well-being, so informing your dentist of your medications may help them understand the big picture better. Your dentist may also be able to recommend methods to restore moisture in your mouth if you’re experiencing chronic dry mouth.
3. Darkened Teeth – Drinking colored liquids such as coffee, red wine, or tea can cause your teeth to stain, but even if you brush twice a day and regularly have your teeth whitened, your teeth can still become darker with age. Dentin–the tooth’s middle layer–tends to become thicker and darker the older you get. Additionally, as you age the enamel on your teeth gets thinner. This process can be sped up if you grind or clench or teeth. While often not entirely reversible, there are many cosmetic dentistry treatments available, such as porcelain veneers, if you’re a senior and displeased with the shade of your teeth.
We Welcome Seniors at Our Woodland Hills Dental Practice!
I’ve been treating dental concerns specific to seniors for more than 30 years. I’ve applied my skills as a prosthodontist and my interest in cosmetic dentistry to help many seniors regain the form and function of their smiles. If you’re searching for a dental practice that truly understands the needs of seniors, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.