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How Getting Older Changes Your Dental Health Approach

Dental Problems

For a while, people may have felt that getting older was naturally correlated with losing their teeth, but as the aging population grows, we are realizing that this is no longer the case. In fact, there’s a greater likelihood than ever for people to keep their natural teeth for the rest of their lives. However, what this doesn’t mean is that this happens automatically. Not only do people want to keep up good oral habits for their lives, but they may also need to adjust them as they age.

Why is this the case? There are several different reasons, but here’s a brief list of some of the biggest issues seniors deal with that may impact their oral health:

  • Certain prescription medications or over the counter medications. In some cases, these medications may have side effects or interactions that can impact your teeth and oral health. Make sure that you speak to your doctor about this.
  • Comorbid conditions. These include diabetes, hypertension, and other diseases that may impact older people. In fact, oral health changes may be a precursor of these conditions.
  • Physical impairments. This may sound odd at first, but in some cases, seniors may have limitations to their range of motion that make brushing difficult, or have trouble shopping themselves for tooth-friendly foods.
  • Grinding or clenching. Habits like these can lead to tooth structure being worn away over time. It may be a good idea to use some sort of night guard.

In addition, there are specific conditions like dry mouth, but gum disease is probably the biggest source of tooth loss in older adults. This is because not only are older adults likely to have receding gums, which open up a new surface for decay, but things like old fillings that need to be replaced or dentures that don’t fit will actually aggravate these conditions. Any sort of dental restoration like a filling or crown should be looked at least every eight years to check for a replacement. The longer you wait, the bigger the risk of decay spreading.

Understand that it’s important to keep your oral health in proper order, but your needs may evolve as you get older. The good news is your best tactic to keep healthy doesn’t really change—getting regular dental checkups. Make sure that you reach out to the dentists at Acadia Dental to get the care you need.

What’s Causing My Sensitive Teeth?

Dental Hygiene

In some cases, the taste of cool food like ice cream or a hot drink like coffee may make your teeth feel painful on occasion. Even air with certain temperatures may give a similar feeling. In other situations, the act of brushing or flossing may feel painful, even though it’s designed to help you. What you may be dealing with is the struggle of sensitive teeth, and while this can arise from several different issues, there are also several things you can do to stop the problem.

Most of the time, sensitive teeth stem from issues with the enamel, the outer layer of your teeth that are designed to protect them. Some people are just naturally born with less enamel, but in other cases, you may unwittingly end up wearing down your enamel. This can be caused by brushing your teeth too hard, grinding your teeth at night, or eating too many acidic foods and beverages.

There are other situations that may lead to your teeth being sensitive though, even if your enamel is fine. For example, receding gums can leave parts of your teeth exposed that do not have enamel. Acid reflux can wear down enamel over time, and there’s also the possibility of temporary sensitivity after procedures like getting fillings or having your teeth bleached. In other cases, sensitivity is a symptom of a greater problem, like a tooth that is cracked or damaged or dealing with heavy decay.

In some cases, basic dental procedures will be enough to alleviate the cause of your sensitivity. For example, fixing a cavity or getting a filling may remove/protect the exposed surface of a tooth that may be causing sensitivity when it comes into contact with hot or cold food/drinks/air. In other cases, you may need to do something more, especially if there’s no obvious cause for your dental care. For example, a dentist can use fluoride gel to strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce the amount of pain. Certain toothpastes, both over-the-counter as well as other brands, can help as well.

If you find yourself dealing with sensitive teeth, there is the possibility of this just being a minor issue that will go away with time. However, it could also be an indicator of a bigger issue with your oral health, something that you should have attended to. Make sure that you reach out to the dentists at Acadia Dental to get the care you need.

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