Growing older brings with it a more common occurrence of tooth and gum problems. While some seniors think losing some or all of their teeth is inevitable, the truth is that good oral hygiene and care lowers the risk of dental problems. This is even more important than ever, as poor oral health is linked with malnutrition, and a whole host of other issues like heart disease and even dementia.
- Myth: Only children get cavities.
- The truth is that tooth decay can develop at any age. As long as you have natural teeth, you can have cavities. Dental plaque can build up on teeth over time, eating away at the hard enamel of teeth and create a cavity. Protect your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, as well as seeing your dentist for routine checkups.
- Myth: Gum disease is a part of aging.
- You can prevent gum disease at any age. Gum disease is an infection of the gums and tissues that hold teeth in place. Gum disease is caused by plaque building up along and under the gumline. As with cavities, thorough brushing and flossing can reduce your risk of developing gum disease as you age.
- Myth: Dry mouth is a natural part of aging.
- Dry mouth is the condition of not having enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. Without enough saliva, chewing, eating, swallowing, and talking can all be difficult. If you suspect you have dry mouth, a dentist or physician can determine what may be causing it and prescribe a treatment to help with it. For example, many prescription medications can cause dry mouth, so you could change medications or have the dosage adjusted.