September is Healthy Aging Month, and the caring team at Alpine Dental Health wants to help keep your smile healthy. Because older adults often have receding gums, cavities are more likely to develop at the root of the tooth. Dry mouth is also a common symptom of growing older. This can cause bacteria to build up more easily and lead to tooth decay. While these dental conditions in aging are natural, we can help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Common dental conditions in aging and their treatment
Here are common dental conditions in aging and advice on prevention, treatment and management:
- Tooth decay
Prevention is the best approach to tooth decay, one of the most common dental conditions among older adults. Delay tooth decay by brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, limit sugary foods, drink water with each meal and talk to your dentist about using a fluoride rinse. If decay has created cavities or weakness or fractures in your tooth, you may need a filling or crown.
- Gum disease
Gum disease is another common problem among older adults and is caused by a build up of plaque and tartar. Severe cases of gum disease can develop into periodontitis, a serious gum infection that damages the gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth. If you or a loved one is experiencing the pain and discomfort of gum disease, visit your dentist as soon as possible for a complete evaluation, assessment and treatment plan.
- Receding gums
Gum recession is a slow process in which the gums shrink away from the teeth. If left untreated, this can lead to significant damage to oral tissue and tooth loss. As with most dental conditions in aging adults, prevention is the best cure. If you are experiencing gum recession, visit your dentist as soon as possible to find out whether a deep cleaning, scaling or gum graft is right for you.
- Dry mouth
Dry mouth is common among older adults and can be a side effect of many medications. It’s important to drink plenty of water and avoid sugary foods and drinks. Chewing sugar-free gum or lozenges can help stimulate saliva production, and mouth rinses can prevent acid build-up.
How does medication affect your oral health
There is an association between poor oral hygiene and several metabolic conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure). Moreover, many medications, including those used to treat these metabolic conditions, may also cause or worsen dental conditions like dry mouth and tooth decay. Medications like antacids, pain medications, antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications and antidepressants can be bad for your teeth. Here is how you can minimize the damage:
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Get regular dental check ups and cleanings
- Use a moisturizing mouth spray
- Limit caffeinated beverages and dehydrating drinks (e.g., coffee, tea and alcohol)
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless lozenges
If you are concerned about dental conditions in aging adults, the skilled and compassionate team of dentists and dental hygienists at Alpine Dental Health can help and are ready to care for your dental needs in a safe and comfortable environment. Please see below to find a location near you.
Boulder Office – 2700 Canyon Blvd, Suite 210
Dr. Whitney Smith
Downtown Denver Office – 910 16th St. Mall, Suite 711
Dr. Barry Taller
West Fort Collins Office – 1015 S. Taft Hill Rd Taft Hill Office – Unit K
Dr. Seth Cowden
Downtown Fort Collins Office – College Ave Office950 S. Taft Hill Rd.
INTERIM OFFICE WHILE NEW LOCATION IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Dr. Mick McDill, Dr. Todd Rosenzweig, Dr. Mesa Roth