Teeth and health change over time. Different stages of life have very different and specific issues that may arise. With the help of the ADA, we have comprised a list of 5 concerns that a mature mouth might encounter.
1.) Gum disease. We know you’ve heard this one before, but the older you get the greater risk you are at. Brushing and flossing (the right way like we outlined in our 8 Common Brushing Mistakes article) combined with regular dental visits and periodontal exams is the winning combo to keep you healthy. Gingivitis is bad enough, but it is the reversible stage of gum disease. If your gum disease reaches periodontitis, it is irreversible.
2.) Missing teeth. Did you know that the average adult between the ages of 20-60 has three or more decayed or missing teeth? You may not think this is a big deal, but missing teeth can affect the way you eat and speak. Additionally, the missing tooth leaves an open space in your mouth that may cause your other teeth to move around or shift, and the vacancy in your mouth can also cause bone loss in that area where the tooth is missing. There are a handful of different solutions to solve this problem. Three of the most common are bridges, dentures, and implants. Call or visit us to discuss your options and together we can decide which option is best for you.
3.) Sensitivity. If you are experiencing discomfort when consuming hot and/or cold foods and beverages, then you may have sensitive teeth. This hyper-sensitivity could be caused by a number of things including tooth decay, fractured teeth, worn fillings, gum disease, worn tooth enamel, and/or an exposed tooth root. The good news is that sensitive teeth can be treated. Treatment may be as simple as desensitizing toothpaste, or maybe a more intense treatment is necessary for more extreme cases – treatment oftentimes depends on the cause of the sensitivity.
4.) Dry mouth. Dry mouth can be experienced by anyone, but if your mouth is constantly dry, then it may be time to seek treatment with us. Many things can cause dry mouth – medications, certain health conditions, and alcohol are a few of the more common causes. If you have constant dry mouth, it is important to get it checked because the reduced flow of saliva creates an environment where bacteria can thrive and decay becomes a real problem. Dry mouth itself is not a serious health problem, but making sure you take extra special care of your oral hygiene when/if you experience dry mouth is extremely important to maintaining a healthy mouth.
5.) Oropharyngeal Cancer. This can affect any area of the mouth – lips, gums, cheek lining, tongue, jaw, hard or soft palate, and throat. It can start as an unsuspecting white spot or inflamed area, so make sure to take it seriously if you notice something like this in your mouth. We regularly screen for oral cancers at your check ups because, as with all cancers, early detection is key to rapid recovery, prolonged health, and easier treatment options. Symptoms and warning signs of oral cancer may be, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Sores that bleed easily or do not heal
- A thick/hard spot or a lump
- A roughened or crusted area
- Numbness, pain, or tenderness
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down
- Difficulty chewing, speaking, and/or moving your tongue and jaw
We hope this information is helpful. Don’t neglect your oral health. It is extremely important to stay on top of these concerns so they do not progress as you age and become more difficult to deal with and correct. We are here to help! If you have any questions or concerns call us just to talk, or schedule an appointment.
Click here to take a 5 question (true or false style) quiz about your oral health. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/adults-40-60/fact-or-fiction/