As we grow older, our bodies undergo a variety of changes. Many older adults focus on medical problems but neglect to follow up about signs of poor oral health. Regular dental visits are particularly important as you grow older, as age puts you at higher risk for a variety of oral health problems.
Common Oral Health Problems Associated with Aging
One of the most common oral health problems associated with aging is yellowing or graying teeth. This occurs when the enamel, or hard outer covering, of your teeth becomes worn down. Older individuals may also be more susceptible to root decay, which can eventually lead to tooth loss and the need for either dental implants or dentures.
Additionally, because aging decreases immune system reactions, it may be more difficult for older adults to maintain a healthy population of “good” bacteria in their mouths. This makes infection more likely, which can affect the health of the teeth, gums, and even surrounding bone tissue. Those who do develop infections will need to receive a gum disease treatment and may find that they heal less quickly than when they were younger.
How to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy
Fortunately, you can work to keep your teeth and gums healthy into your 60s, 70s, and beyond. Consider the following recommendations:
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