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Common Dental Issues for People Over 50


Posted on 5/5/2015 by Thomas Mahar

An older woman experiencing pain from her teeth caused by tooth decay.As you age, so does your body, including your teeth. There is a growing number of people over 50 who are keeping their natural teeth because of the advancing technology that allows dentists to treat new conditions and old ones more effectively. While technology is improving, the risks of more dental problems are also rising in people over 50. Some of the issues that may be experienced by people who are over 50 years of age can include tooth crowding, oral cancer, dry mouth, gum disease, and tooth decay.

Crowding of the Teeth

When your permanent teeth come in and one may overlap the other, it may not be very noticeable. However, as we age so does our mouth, and during this aging process our teeth shift slightly. This shift in our teeth can cause problems to occur. When teeth overlap it creates a spot in our mouths that we cannot get to with a toothbrush. Sometimes it can be difficult to reach with floss too. Without properly cleaning these overlapping teeth and their sides, it could lead to decaying teeth. Another issue that may arise is the erosion or damage to the teeth, tissue, gums, and ultimately the bone.

Fixing overlapping teeth can be done through visiting your dentist or an orthodontist. They will begin by fitting your mouth with a spacer, retainer, or braces. The overlapping teeth may not need a lot of work to get it back on the right track. It is very important that you keep your dental checkups to prevent tooth decay and the overlapping teeth from creating additional problems as you age.

Oral Cancer

Over seven thousand people die each year from oral cancer, which is cancer that occurs on the gums or roof of the mouth. They have previously linked oral cancer to alcoholism, chewing tobacco, and smoking tobacco. With the addition to these things, as we age, the risks for getting oral cancer also rises. To prevent oral cancer from occurring, avoid smoking or chewing tobacco and limit your consumption of alcohol. You can also speak with your dentist regarding your risks and how to lower them.

Constant Dry Mouth

One of our mouth's natural tooth decay prevention methods is saliva. Naturally, your mouth creates saliva, which helps to wash away bacteria and other particles that may form in our mouths and over our teeth. Some people cannot create saliva naturally, or not as much as needed. Dry mouth symptoms can include having trouble swallowing, cracked lips, sticky feeling, and a dry throat. In attempts to fix dry mouth, you can stimulate the production of saliva by drinking water throughout the day and chewing sugarless gum or candy.

Gum Disease and Tooth Decay

Red, swollen, and bleeding gums are all signs of gingivitis, which can lead to gum disease. Any type of disease can be serious and very dangerous. Therefore, it's best to treat it once found or prevent it from happening. People who are over 50 run the risk of gum disease, especially if they are not visiting the dentist regularly and taking proper care of their teeth. The best way to fix gum disease, gingivitis, or periodontitis, is to keep your dentist appointments, and to stay on top of oral hygiene.

When your teeth lose the enamel on them, it is considered decaying or deteriorating. This can happen before gum disease starts. It can also be fixed by having regular cleanings from the dentist at least once every six months. If you or a loved one is over 50 and experiencing painful swallowing or other dental issues, please contact us today at (315) 766-2770.

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