Oral health is important at every age. Developing good preventive care habits when you are young makes taking care of your teeth and gums easy as you grow into an adult. However, even the most diligent and careful brusher and flosser can encounter oral health problems as a senior. Aging has side effects but, thankfully, biomimetic dentistry makes it possible to retain as much as possible of your natural teeth while giving you a complete and beautiful smile.
Common Oral Health Problems of Seniors
Some of the most common oral health problems that seniors may encounter include:
- Dark teeth: An unpleasant side effect of aging is the way your teeth can change. Specifically, the dentin underneath tooth enamel can start to turn dark. After decades of eating and drinking, discoloration shouldn’t come as a shock – after all, your teeth work hard every day and the outer layer of enamel can begin to thin. However, these facts don’t mean a darkening smile is acceptable or tolerable. A professional teeth-whitening treatment isn’t going to help in this situation, though. An intrinsic tooth discoloration must be covered up with a solution like porcelain veneers.
- Dry mouth: Even if you are taking good care of your overall health, your oral health can suffer as you age, quite often through no fault of your own. Some medications taken by seniors are known to cause dry mouth. A decrease in saliva production can also occur because of radiation for cancer treatments. Tooth decay can develop quickly in a mouth that has imbalanced saliva or a deficit of saliva.
- Broken restorations: If you have had any fillings or restorative dentistry procedures completed over the years, there may come a time when the repairs are no longer viable. A silver filling can expand and crack a tooth. A decades-old dental bridge or crown could break or come out. Biomimetic dentistry is focused on preserving your natural teeth. At your Moorestown dentist, every effort will be made to save your teeth while making the necessary repairs, like non-toxic tooth-colored fillings or updated dental crowns and dental bridges, to give you a comfortable, functional, and complete smile.
- Gum disease: Gum disease is slow to develop, but because a patient may neglect to visit their dentist at certain times in their life, no one notices the symptoms until it’s too late. Gum disease can also be a side effect of age-related illnesses like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. Bleeding or inflamed gums are a sign of gingivitis, but full-blown periodontal disease can cause teeth to become loose and fall out. Dental implants, dentures, or full-mouth reconstruction may be necessary to get your mouth back to total good health.
These oral health problems can be caused by things like medication. Inflammation, which can contribute to arthritis in the hands, can make it hard for a senior to floss and brush thoroughly. For some older adults, cognition can be problematic. A senior who is forgetful may neglect to brush or miss important dental appointments. And then, of course, there is heredity. You may simply be predisposed to develop oral health problems as you age.
If you keep up with preventive care visits to your Moorestown dentist, you will be more likely to maintain healthy teeth and gums as you age. Seeing a biomimetic dentist is especially beneficial for senior patients because biomimetic dentists strive to preserve as much of the natural tooth as possible. You won’t be made to endure unnecessary dental treatments, and the work that is done on your teeth will be as minimally invasive as possible.
Keep on living the good life, and take your natural teeth along for the ride. If you have questions or concerns about your aging smile, or if you are caring for an older loved one who is needs oral health care, contact Moorestown Dental Professionals to make an appointment.