Consider These Aging Dental Concerns

dental healthAs you age, your teeth age, and taking care of your teeth is as important as taking care of your body. Read on to learn more about a few of the conditions that can affect the aging mouth.

Dry Mouth

You may wonder why you’re getting cavities when you haven’t had them in years. Aging means entering a second round of cavity prone years. Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging, but it is a side-effect of more than 500 medications, including those for allergies, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. What to do?

  • Drink more water.
  • Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers.
  • Use sugar-free gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production.
  • Get a humidifier to help keep moisture in the air.
  • Avoid beverages that irritate dry mouths, like coffee, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices.
  • Tell your dentist about any medications that you’re taking.

Oral Cancer

The American Cancer Society, estimates that each year there are 35,000 diagnosed cases of mouth, throat and tongue cancer. The average age of those diagnosed with these cancers is 62. Regular dental visits are vital because oral cancer is not usually painful in the early stages and early detection saves lives. Some visible symptoms include open sores, white or reddish patches, and any changes in the lips, tongue and lining of the mouth that last for more than two weeks.

Periodontal or Gum Disease

The risks of gum disease increase with age. Periodontal or gum disease is caused by the bacteria in plaque. Little pockets form at the gum line where bacteria can grow. If left untreated, bacterial infections can cause damage to connective tissue and bone, leading to tooth loss. Gum disease is often a painless condition until the advanced stage, when it eventually destroys the gums, bone and ligaments supporting the teeth, leading to tooth loss. Regular dental visits can ensure that gum disease is treated or prevented entirely.

Dr. Glasser specializes in geriatric dentistry and wants to help you have the best-looking smile every day of your life. Call to schedule an appointment, today: (631) 423-6767.

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