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Oral Health Problems Common Among Seniors

May 5, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — kleinfamilydentalteam @ 10:12 pm
senior smiling at the camera

Just like everything else, the way that you take care of your teeth tends to start to change as you get older. You might have noticed new oral health problems cropping up that didn’t bother you before, and managing them is crucially important to keeping all of your teeth into old age.

If you want to take the best care of your teeth possible, here are a few oral health problems that can start as you get older and what you can do about them.

What Are Some Common Oral Health Problems Among Seniors?

Even if you take immaculate care of your teeth, there are a few things you might start to notice about your oral health as you start to age, like:

Discolored Teeth

Enamel is the top layer of the teeth, and it’s what gives teeth their white color. As you get older the enamel naturally begins to thin, which can expose the layer of the tooth underneath. This is called dentin, and its brownish color is considerably darker than the exterior of the tooth. As a consequence, you may notice your teeth getting darker as you get older.

Gum Recession

As you age, the gum naturally starts to recede. This can expose the roots of the teeth in extreme conditions, making them more likely to decay.

Dry Mouth

Saliva is critical to breaking down food and normalizing the pH of the mouth. Dry mouth can result as a consequence of certain medications, and because seniors tend to take more of them, they’re more likely to see a lack of saliva. This can increase the chances of developing gum disease or tooth decay.

Gum Disease

Everyone has some bacteria in their mouth, but the bacteria colonies of older people are much more developed. This makes them more likely to contract gum disease.

How to Protect Oral Health as a Senior

If you want to stave off the negative effects of these oral health conditions, here are some things that are important to do

  • Brush at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste to fortify the enamel.
  • Floss daily to break up plaque deposits and prevent gum disease.
  • Rinse with mouthwash to reduce the size of bacterial colonies in the mouth.
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year. They’ll be able to monitor the changes in your mouth.

About the Author

Dr. Gary Klein became a dentist in large part because he believes in giving back to his community. In his opinion, using his unique skillset to be able to help his patients smile their brightest is the perfect way to do that. Dr. Klein received his dental degree from the NYU College of Dentistry, then completed a one-year residency at Lehigh Valley Hospital before opening his private practice.

If you have any questions about senior dental care, he can be reached at his website or by phone at (717) 652-6644.

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