The aging process can affect your teeth in different ways. As you get older, you might begin to have more problems with your teeth and gums. In some cases, you might end up needing to have teeth extracted and replaced, such as if you have root or tooth decay. Having a knowledgeable Burlington dentist that can check your teeth and gums for the following common dental problems in seniors when you come in for exams or other dental work is invaluable.
While coffee and other substances can cause tooth discoloration, aging can do this as well. Your teeth might become more yellowish or darker with age as the dentin inside them becomes more visible.
Periodontal or Gum Disease
Problems with your gums can occur at any age, but your risk of gum or periodontal disease can increase as you get older. Gum disease can occur if you have a lot of plaque buildup or if you wear dentures that don’t fit properly. Smoking can also increase your risk of having gum disease. This kind of disease typically starts as inflammation and can turn into a much more serious condition if it’s left untreated. Advanced gum disease can result in infections and tooth or bone loss.
Tooth Root Decay
The roots of your teeth can end up decaying due to the aging process. When your gums recede with age, this can leave your roots exposed, which can result in decay or infections. Your teeth have a protective layer of enamel on them to protect them from these problems. However, your tooth roots don’t have any enamel on them. Keep in mind that severe decay can require tooth removal, and infections can lead to serious complications that affect other areas of your body.
When you get older, your teeth might shift position. This can lead to tooth crowding, which makes it more difficult to keep your teeth clean. Misalignments can also cause problems with eating and speaking. In some cases, tooth crowding can raise your risk of tooth loss, such as when you experience bone loss due to aging.
The saliva in your mouth helps wash away bacteria and other germs, which helps lower the risk of decay and other problems. When you get older, you might have mouth dryness due to decreased saliva production. A lower amount of saliva can occur due to certain kinds of medication or some diseases. However, the aging process also typically leads to a decline in saliva production. Since this can increase the number of germs in your mouth, you can have a higher risk of tooth decay with dry mouth.
Your risk of oral cancer can increase with age, so it’s important to have routine dental exams and cleanings over the years. During these exams, our Burlington dentist can check for signs of oral cancer, such as sores or white spots on your gums. Detecting these signs early means you can be tested for oral cancer if needed.
If you’re having dental problems or need a cleaning, please contact Dentistry at the Grove to make an appointment with us. We offer a wide range of dental services for seniors, including dental implants and dentures.