Good oral hygiene is essential at any age, but it’s especially crucial in the later years of life.
With age comes a new set of dental issues that can creep up, from gum disease to dry mouth to a more fragile and decay-prone set of pearly whites.
But despite these challenges, many people still neglect their dental health, perhaps thinking they’re too old to bother with cavities and gingivitis. Well, my silver-haired friends, let me tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.
Here are our top 5 reasons you should remain especially vigilant about caring for your teeth and gums.
Your Teeth Become More Brittle And Susceptible To Decay As You Age
The enamel that protects our teeth becomes thinner over time, making your teeth more vulnerable to cavities. Moreover, your gums start to recede, exposing the roots of your teeth, which can lead to sensitivity and other oral health issues. These problems can worsen, leading to more severe health issues without proper dental care, such as regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups.
You’re More Likely To Develop Gum Disease, Also Known as Periodontitis
Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and even systemic health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. According to the CDC, 68% of Americans aged 65 and older have gum disease. (1) Regular dental checkups and cleanings can help detect and treat gum disease early on, preventing further damage to teeth and gums.
You Are More Likely To Have Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is a condition in which there is not enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. Saliva is essential in keeping your mouth healthy by washing away food particles, starting the digestive process when you eat food, and neutralizing harmful bacteria. Without enough saliva, the risk of tooth decay and gum disease increases. Dry mouth can be a side effect of medications commonly prescribed to older adults, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications. Your dentist can help you manage dry mouth and prevent oral health problems.
Dental Restorations Can Wear Out Over Time
If you’ve had fillings, crowns, or other dental work done in the past, it’s important to keep an eye on these restorations as you age. They may wear down or become damaged over time, leaving your teeth vulnerable to decay and further damage. Regular dental checkups can help catch any issues early on and prevent them from becoming more significant problems down the road.
Regular Dental Checkups Can Help Detect Early Signs Of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can be life-threatening if left untreated. It’s most common in older adults, particularly those who smoke or use tobacco. During a dental checkup, your dentist will perform an oral cancer screening, detecting early signs of the disease and increasing the chances of successful treatment.
It’s time to give your teeth and gums some extra TLC. Whether you’re dealing with gum disease, dry mouth, or just the wear and tear of many years of smiling, your dental health is essential for your overall well-being.
So, brush and floss daily, visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings at least twice a year and don’t let age be an excuse for neglecting your pearly whites. After all, life is too short not to show off a dazzling smile.
Probiotics Support a Healthy Mouth
Did you know your mouth is home to over 700 species of microbes? Yes, you heard that right – bacteria, fungi, and all sorts of tiny organisms thrive in your oral cavity. But don’t be alarmed; not all of them are harmful. Many are beneficial and help keep the harmful ones in check. So before you reach for your mouthwash, remember that a healthy balance of microbes in your mouth is crucial for your well-being.(2)
Incorporating Stonehenge Health® Dynamic Biotics™ into your daily routine can help support a healthy balance of bacteria in your mouth and promote oral health. Probiotics support bacteria that can support good oral health in many ways. These friendly bacteria can help balance the harmful bacteria in your mouth, reducing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.(3) Probiotics have been shown to help support your immune system, which can further protect against oral infections.(4)
1. Oral Health for Older Americans | Adult Oral Health | Basics | Division of Oral Health | CDC | cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/adult-oral-health/adult_older.htm
2. Mouth Microbes: The Helpful and the Harmful | NIH News in Health from National Institutes of Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services | newsinhealth.nih.gov/2019/05/mouth-microbes
3. Gheisary, Zohre, Razi Mahmood, Aparna Harri shivanantham, Juxin Liu, Jessica R. L. Lieffers, Petros Papagerakis, and Silvana Papagerakis. 2022. “The Clinical, Microbiological, And Immunological Effects Of Probiotic Supplementation On Prevention And Treatment Of Periodontal Diseases: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis”. Nutrients 14 (5): 1036. doi:10.3390/nu14051036.
4. Klaenhammer, Todd R., Michiel Kleerebezem, Matthias Volkmar Kopp, and Maria Rescigno. 2012. “The Impact Of Probiotics And Prebiotics On The Immune System”. Nature Reviews Immunology 12 (10): 728-734. doi:10.1038/nri3312.