With aging comes more routine maintenance. If you’re 50+ years old, you’ll know this is the case beyond just dentistry. But, it does include going to the dentist more frequently for routine checkups, especially if you have dental implants or dentures. Recent data found that 15 percent of people ages 65 to 74 and 22% of those over 75 are toothless, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How Do Teeth and Gums Degrade as We Age?
- Root decay – Just as other parts of the body begin to break down as we get older, so do your teeth. You can still get cavities, and you may get them around old cavities or near the root of the tooth. This is because as you get older the root of the tooth gets softer and can become exposed. Fortunately, fluoride can still be helpful even as you get older. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the teeth more resistant to acid from foods you eat and the bacteria in your mouth.
- Dry mouth – Another reason someone over the age of 50 may need to visit the dentist more frequently is if they have dry mouth. Your saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which naturally help prevent your teeth from demineralizing and breaking down. Dry mouth is often caused by medications, and people over the age of 50 are likely to be on multiple medications that may have dry mouth as a side effect. Your dentist will want to see if your dry mouth is having an effect on your teeth, and possibly give you a prescription saliva substitute.
- Teeth Overcrowding – The older a person gets, the more their teeth move and shift. Teeth get overcrowded gradually and people might not notice until food starts getting stuck between teeth easier or they have a more difficult time flossing. In a younger person, an orthodontist can fix the overcrowding with a retainer, but most likely, overcrowding teeth just need more frequent cleanings to get in between the hard to reach places to prevent tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
- Bridge or Denture issues – If you have tooth loss or have bridges or dentures, your dentist may want to see you more often to make sure they are fitting correctly and not causing other problems in your mouth. The dentist will look for inflammation, sores, lumps, bleeding and other abnormalities. The dentures will be examined for wear, fractures and changes in bite which can cause pain and other jaw issues.
There is no set amount of times you should go to the dentist if you’re over the age of 50. However, if you are over 50 and live in or near west Pensacola, call us today at (850) 542-4428. Dr. Djuric has been practicing general, implant, and cosmetic dentistry in the Gulf Coast for over 25 years.