As we age, our body slows down, and our years begin taking their toll on us. One aspect of our well-being that we sometimes seem to neglect is our teeth and oral health in general. This is an issue that needs to be addressed in a timely manner, and the best way to do so is to do your homework. If you know the most common effects aging can have on your dental health, it will be easier for you to notice the symptoms and perhaps even prevent the problem from happening in the first place. Here are some of the most frequent dental-health issues and how you can deal with them.

Side Effects of Medicine

The role of saliva is far greater than merely keeping your mouth moist. It’s also important when it comes to protecting your teeth from cavities. However, the elderly often experience dry mouth, which can be extremely unpleasant, but also damaging to their dental health. In many cases, dryness is the side effect of some sort of medicine. Namely, many aging people face such illnesses as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes. If you’re dealing with one of these diseases, it’s most likely that you have to get treatment for them, and it’s precisely that medicine that can compromise the saliva production in your mouth. If you’re required to take such therapy, it’s crucial that you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, so that you lower the chances of dry mouth.

Gum Recession

One of the leading dental problems of the aged, gum recession, occurs as the muscles and bones in our body wear out with time. This can have serious consequences and even cause our bone structure or our face to change to such a degree that they become deformed. The results can range from the exposed root surface of the teeth and the sensitivity to hot and cold that accompanies it to teeth loss. Once something like this happens, it’s vital that you seek help. Other than finding a good dentist, it’s imperative that the dentist in question works with an esteemed dental laboratory, one with a long tradition, experienced dental technicians and good recommendations. That way you’ll be sure to get the best quality crown and bridge restorations, implants, or full dentures if that’s what you need.

Discoloration

Even though this isn’t a major dental health issue, it’s still a commonplace one with the aging population and one that can make you look less appealing, above anything else. Fortunately, you’re not completely helpless when it comes to the prevention and treatment of tooth discoloration. For instance, you may add more fruit like watermelon or strawberries to your daily diet, while staying away from wine, cigarettes and coffee, which are infamous when it comes to causing tooth stains. If that doesn’t help and you notice that your teeth need brightening, there are different types of cosmetic procedures to consider. These are painless and don’t take much time, but can be highly efficient in case of discoloration. On the other hand, you should never utilize any chemical whitening solutions at home, but rather let a professional do it. Using such solutions unsupervised can do more harm than good and that’s something that you certainly want to avoid.

Common Teeth Wear

If there’s one thing you can expect, it’s for your body to wear down with age. The same is true for your teeth. It’s natural and there’s not much you can do to actually prevent it. However, you can somewhat soften the blow and minimize the effect that the wear has on your dental well-being. For example, though you have to chew your food every day, there’s no need for you to also chew gum. Not only will cutting down on chewing gums have you using your teeth less, but it can also be a good way to cut down on sugar, which chewing gums are full of and which can be a great contributor to the deterioration of your teeth and your overall oral health. Aside from gums, you might want to stay away from foods that are too hard as well, but also those that are intensely sweet or sour, since that can be harmful to your teeth, too.

Oral Cancer

The C-word is as scary to hear as it is to say out loud. Unfortunately, many people have to face the frightening truth as they get the diagnosis of oral cancer. There is more than just one type of cancer that can develop in a person’s mouth, but squamous cell carcinoma is the one that is mentioned most often. The problem is that, with age, the risk of oral cancer increases and the best thing to do is to try to prevent it by making certain adjustments to your lifestyle. Start with limiting the amount of alcohol you drink and how much you smoke, and get your oral-cancer screenings regularly, to stay as safe as you can. That way, if something unexpected happens, you can find out about it early enough and react straight away. This is particularly important if you’re of the male gender, as three-quarters of those diagnosed with oral cancer are men.

Although good genes can be your ally when it comes to preserving your teeth and your oral health, it’s not unlikely that, somewhere along the way, you’ll have to face one or more of these problems. In any case, you should do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle and visit your dentist frequently, since that’s the only way you’ll be able to manage whatever goes wrong concerning your dental well-being.

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