People between the ages of 40 and 60 will have different dental concerns than when they were 18. Their concerns will also be different than when they were 30. While you don’t have to worry about new teeth coming in, you will want to keep the teeth you have. There are other problems you can have as you age as well. Teeth change as you age. Let us tell you about what we look for in your mouth as you grow older and help to solve your dental concerns.
Do Teeth Deteriorate with Age?
Here’s the good news. If you have taken good care of your mouth during your lifetime, you did the hard work. Your chances are good that you will be able to keep your teeth and gums healthy. You have already beaten the odds. Did you know that by the age of 40, 120 million Americans have at least one missing tooth? In fact, many dental problems in the elderly begin with poor dental hygiene. Are you brushing and flossing? Are you eating lots of fruits and veggies? Do you visit the dentist twice a year? If you do all those things, you are planning to keep your teeth for life.
Two Huge Problems
Poor dental hygiene leads to the two biggest problems we see in older adults. First, tooth decay can leave teeth weaker, and more prone to breaks and cracks. Also, the cavities you have in your mouth will continue to get worse without treatment. Over time, they can cause you to develop an infection in your tooth. And, as a result, you may need a root canal. You might even lose that tooth. When you start losing teeth, you get shifting teeth symptoms. That’s because the teeth you have left are working to replace those you lost. This shift in your teeth can affect your whole bite. It can even become dangerous and lead to problems with your jaw joint.
In addition, poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease. Bacteria in your mouth cause gum disease. It has three stages. The first stage, gingivitis, is easily treated because it only causes inflammation. The second and third stages are more serious. We can treat the infection, but we cannot undo the damage. Unless you treat the infection, your gums will deteriorate. This can also cause you to lose teeth because your teeth sit in your jawbone. Your gums support them.
Aging Teeth and Gums
With all that being said, there are things you need to look for. Gums can still recede. Why do gums recede as we age? The truth is, as long as you’re practicing good oral hygiene, you can minimize the amount your gums recede. While your gums will recede a little as you age — because of wear and tear — they will last a lifetime. This is especially true if you are faithfully brushing and flossing.
What Else Should Concern Me?
As you age, your dentist will continue to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy. However, he or she doesn’t stop there. He or she will also check your mouth structures every time you come in. That’s because your risk of oral cancer rises as you age. If you have never smoked or used tobacco products, or you are not a heavy drinker, your risk is lower. We continue to check your mouth for any suspicious bumps or spots that signal oral cancer.
Do you have dental concerns? Do you need a dentist? We know a good one. Contact Maiden Lane Dental in the Financial District of New York City. We would love to take care of your teeth for life.