Aging and Your Oral Health

Dental health is critical at every stage of life. Many people don’t realize that our needs change as our bodies do– whether we are young children cutting our first teeth, teenagers in braces, experiencing a pregnancy, or entering retirement. Each important stage of our lives brings with it some dental demands!

Entering our golden years, in particular, is an extremely important time in everyone’s life– and one that requires special dental attention.

Your mouth in its golden years

Not too long ago, it was a common idea that people simply lost their teeth with age (and sometimes earlier than that!) But in this day and age we can trust that as you grow wiser, more worldly, and enter into retirement– your relaxed smile will feature a complete set of teeth.

However there are some important changes that older men and women should be aware of when it comes to oral health.

  1. Menopause, which usually occurs around the age of 50, marks a significant drop in estrogen, which can affect your teeth. Postmenopausal women are at a higher risk for gum disease than they were previously. While studies are still underway, health professionals recommend staying very strict about regular dental checkups around and following menopause to ensure your best gum health.
  2. As we age, the nerves in our teeth age too– they become smaller and less sensitive. The outcome of this is that we can’t feel the discomfort associated with oral health problems like gum disease or cavities– pain that earlier in our lives would have been noticed quickly. For this reason, again, extremely regular and perhaps more frequent visits to the dentist are the key to staying on top of any health problems that may arise.
  3. Unfortunately, aging can sometimes herald health conditions that we didn’t experience when we were younger. Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are just two health conditions that can make a huge impact on oral health, particularly gum health. If you have a change in your health status, be sure to tell our doctors at your next appointment!

The tips for keeping your mouth healthy as you age may sound familiar to you:

  • Brush twice a day, preferably with an electric toothbrush.
  • Use floss or an interdental cleaner at least once a day.
  • Maintain a healthy diet– your body needs vitamins and minerals to keep your mouth healthy!
  • And of course, don’t take up smoking as your new hobby when you retire– it’s terrible for teeth, gums, and your breath. Try sailing instead.

Some of our tips for keeping your mouth healthy may be a little new:

  • If you wear dentures, be sure to clean them daily, and to take them out of your mouth for a minimum of four hours once a day.
  • Make sure your dentures fit well. Our clinic is the most trusted source of dentures in Burns, Oregon, and we can help you with a denture choice that fits your needs– and your mouth.

Do you have more questions about how oral health care changes with age? Please bring them with you to your next appointment with Burns Dental Group– we look forward to seeing you!

Photo Credit: kenteegardin via Compfight cc

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