Getting older increases the risk of experiencing a wide range of health issues, and oral health problems are no exception. Here are five oral health problems that you should watch out for as you age.
1. Reduced Saliva Production
Many people find that their saliva production reduces as they get older. This reduced production can lead to an uncomfortably dry mouth. In addition, having less saliva can leave you at greater risk of developing cavities, as the enzymes in saliva help to fight the growth of bacteria.
If dry mouth becomes a problem for you, there are several steps you can take. Drinking plenty of water can help you to feel more comfortable, as can chewing on sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production. Another option is to ask your dentist or doctor about medications that can boost saliva production to protect your overall oral health.
2. Weak Enamel
Enamel coats healthy teeth and protects them from cavities. As you age, it is common for enamel to weaken and become thinner. As a result, the risk of developing a cavity increases. Thin enamel can cause teeth to look yellow, as the natural colour of the inner part of the tooth shows through. If you notice your smile taking on a yellow shade, be sure to see your dentist.
3. Jawbone Loss
Older people in general, and denture wearers in particular, are vulnerable to bone loss. As the density of bone in the jaw decreases, the shape of your face can begin to change, which can lead to dentures not fitting as well as they used to.
4. Gum Disease
The older you are, the more likely you are to experience gum disease. However, you can keep your risk as low as possible by brushing and flossing your teeth every day to reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar. Regular dental checkups can also help to identify the early signs of gum disease, which allows you to get treatment.
5. Oral Cancer
Although not very common, oral cancer is an oral health problem that all older people should be aware of. The earliest signs include white patches or sores in the mouth. Often, dentists are the first to spot the signs of oral cancer in their patients, so it's important to see yours regularly for checkups. You can also reduce your risk of oral cancer by not smoking and limiting your consumption of alcohol.
For more information, contact a local dentist.Share