You only have one set of adult teeth, and they need to last until you are 80, 90, or beyond. The actions you take towards your teeth today will either benefit you or harm you in the future. Of course, good dental care starts with seeing a dentist regularly. You should go in for cleanings and checkups, and any other time you think something might be amiss with your teeth. Education is important when it comes to any aspect of your health, so start reading the articles on this website to educate yourself about dentists and dental care. We promise that when you're 80 and you still have your teeth, you won't regret the time spent.
When people think about cavities and who gets them the most, their minds might travel back to childhood. Kids often develop cavities due to a penchant for sweet foods and because most kids don't do the best job brushing, so their dental health can falter. However, it might surprise you to learn that older folks need regular dental care, and may even need more visits to avoid problems with their dental health. Here's what's going on behind it.
Dental enamel is the hard shell on the exterior of your tooth that gives it both its color and a solid layer of protection. While enamel isn't invincible, it acts as a barrier between the softer layers of your tooth and the outside world. This has to be chewed through by bacteria, plaque, and tartar before a cavity forms.
Unfortunately, losing enamel is often a part of life. It's not necessarily due to poor dental care, but as you get older, it wears down. The constant use of teeth can cause this to happen, as can brushing too hard. With weakened enamel, your risk of developing cavities increases.
Another problem older people tend to have that can impact their oral health is a weakened immune system. Immune systems are your body's first defense against illnesses and invading bacteria, which means that it plays a role in protecting your gums and teeth. When you have an infected gum or develop gum disease, the immune system goes to work, attacking the bacteria with white blood cells to kill and expel it.
However, as you get older, your immune system becomes less effective. While there are things you can do to help give it a boost, like taking Vitamin C, it may not be enough to boost you back up to where your immune system was at a younger age. This increases your risk of developing gum disease and can allow teeth infections to become severe more quickly.
Finally, older folks tend to take at least some kind of medication, whether it's for pain relief or an ongoing health condition. While these medications aren't intended to impact oral health, they often do. Prescription drugs, in particular, can cause problems like dry mouth, which allows bacteria to thrive. This gives it the upper hand in chewing through your dental enamel and triggering gum disease.
As you get older, your dentist may recommend that you come in for cleanings and exams more often. This is a good idea, and whatever you do, don't skip your appointments. Putting off preventative dental care may mean dealing with the consequences later.
For more help, contact local dentist services.