As we boomers continue to “grow up”, we in the dental profession increasingly see many patients nearing retirement age. People are living longer and enjoying later years in life more so than any previous generation. Many things change as we age, and things in the mouth are no exception.

The good habits of effective daily brushing, proper diet, use of fluorides, and regular dental cleanings are extremely important in managing the changing conditions of aging. Reduced salivary flow is commonplace for those over 50, and may be reduced by as much as 50% without being noticed by the patient. Most medications taken by this same age group cause an additional reduction in salivary flow leading to damaging dry mouth conditions.

Some of the changes in the teeth and gums may include teeth that darken due to long-term exposure to staining foods and drinks. The gums may recede and uncover the roots of teeth. Exposed roots can be worn down or grooved at the gum line, and can be sensitive or prone to decay.

“Dry Mouth” may develop. And this is a very serious threat to teeth and gums. Saliva is the “lifeblood” of teeth and gums. Healthy salivary flow provides nutrients and protective substances to the teeth and gums. Although these changes may take place very slowly and may not be recognized, dry mouth can be devastating. Flow may also be reduced by medical disorders and medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers, high blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and others.

Plaque build-up associated with dry mouth can accelerate tooth decay and gum disease. Gum infection causes loss of bone support for the teeth and loss of teeth. Poorly-fitting or poorly-cleaned dentures, medical conditions (diabetes) and many medications increase the severity of the problem.

Fortunately, there are many simple, inexpensive, and extremely effective things that can be done to prevent dental problems associated with aging. The key to prevention of these conditions is regular dental care in our middle age years. Our office has had extensive training and experience in dealing with these issues. Many times, all that is necessary is a no fee consultation with your medical doctor.

For more information regarding senior dentistry problems or more importantly, ways to prevent them, please call our office at (972)235-4767 or email us at [email protected] today.


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