If you are nearing or at the age of retirement, you know that maintaining your health becomes more and more important with each passing year. When managing your senior health, don’t forget your oral health! Not only is it important for the health of your teeth and gums, but for your health as a whole!
If you are over 65 and looking for quality dental care in the Carson and South Bay area, Care Dental Center is your number one choice. At Care Dental Center in Carson, California, we have extensive experience helping seniors restore and maintain beautiful smiles.
Your teeth are some of the strongest parts of your body. Believe it or not, your molars are capable of biting down with an amazing 200 pounds of pressure. Over time, however, your teeth will wear down with use and age.
How does this happen? Normal wear and tear such as chewing slowly erodes the surface of the tooth (the enamel) and smooths the edges of the teeth, so they may not have as sharp a bite. Excessive stress on the teeth and jaw, caused by issues such as night-time teeth grinding, can greatly accelerate this process.
Additionally, the foods you eat can also wear away tooth enamel. Acidic foods work like acid to dissolve the outer protective layer of the teeth. These foods can include citrus fruits like oranges as well as popular drinking sodas such as colas.
If the tooth enamel becomes weakened too much, problems can occur, some of them serious. For example, weakened teeth can develop cracks, chip, or break entirely. This can expose the pulp or nerves of the tooth, causing inflammation and pain. While older people generally have less sensitive nerves, these types of teeth problems can still be quite painful. Worse, the pulp could potentially become infected, which is not just dangerous for the tooth itself but your overall health.
Overall, the chances of severe tooth damage triples for seniors over the age of 65.
Seniors also have additional risks regarding their oral health, including an increased risk of oral cavity cancer. This is especially true of people who smoke or chew tobacco.
Cavities are often thought of as a problem of youth, but these days, it’s actually the reverse. Seniors over 65 are at high risk for cavities and now suffer tooth decay more than young children. (Cavities are also called “dental caries.”)
There are a number of reasons for this. Some of it has to do with the generations. Baby boomers may not have grown up with fluoride in their water or in their toothpaste when they were young. Baby boomers may also have older types of fillings, some from childhood or their teen years, that may break down.
Gum tissue in the mouth also has more of a tendency to recede and thin as we get older. This means that dental caries often develop near the gum line. These caries affect the neck of the tooth, which is where all the sensitive pulp and nerve fiber lives.
For this reason, it is important for seniors to get regular checkups and also have their old fillings evaluated and possibly replaced.
As you get older, you may notice your teeth looking darker or yellowing with age. This is not just in your imagination. While tooth discoloration can be related to the food you eat – especially foods and drinks that stain such as coffee, tea, wine, or even tomato sauce – teeth yellow with age regardless.
But it’s not just food that stains teeth as you age. The dentin inside your teeth naturally yellows and it will show through more as your enamel thins and wears down. Fortunately, we can help with teeth whitening strategies that are specifically designed for older teeth.
Yes, there is a greater risk of oral cavity cancer as you age, especially if you have been a smoker or a tobacco chewer. Marijuana smoking may also increase the risk of oral cancer, though more research needs to be done. Additionally, viruses such as HPV may also increase the risk of oral cancer. Get regular checkups at Care Dental Center in Carson, California to be screened for oral cavity cancer. Catching cancer early is the key to successful treatment.
As people age, they tend to be put on more medicines, and these medications can have side effects that impact the health of your teeth and gums. Some of the most common medicines for seniors include calcium-channel blockers for hypertension that can puff up gum tissue. Many other common medications cause dry mouth. This may not seem on the surface like a problem, but it is. Saliva is critical for tooth and gum health. If your medicine is causing dry mouth, we can help come up with a safe solution to keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy.
The number one thing to do to keep teeth and gums healthy as you age is good dental hygiene. This includes daily brushing and flossing. A good electric toothbrush can be especially helpful, not just in terms of cleaning teeth better, but making brushing easier for arthritic hands.
Regular checkups and cleanings at Care Dental Center in Carson, California will also make a big difference in your oral health. Some of the preventative care we can provide includes fluoride treatments to help strengthen enamel and reduce tooth decay.
Make sure you contact your dentist immediately if you have any concerns about your oral health. This is especially true if you have loose teeth, pain, or bleeding of the gums. Many seniors are on fixed incomes, and unfortunately basic Medicare coverage does not pay for most dental care or procedures. However, at Care Dental Center in Carson, California, we offer reasonable rates and provide affordable payment plans, so please do not let concerns over costs stop you from seeking help with your teeth.
If you are a senior or retiree in the South Bay, come to Care Dental Center in Carson, California. We provide comprehensive dental care for people of all ages, with special expertise in helping those over 65 mitigate the effects of aging on teeth. From teeth whitening to preventative care, our friendly staff has the knowledge and expertise to help you retain your winning smile.
Are you a retiree or senior who needs quality dental care? Contact Care Dental Center in Carson, California. We serve the South Bay with a smile. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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