As we grow older so do our teeth, yet dental care and hygiene seem to get less focus as life goes on. However, dental health is connected to the whole body and it is important to remember that your oral care is a key part of keeping yourself in tiptop shape. Below are 9 reasons why dentistry should be a priority for you and your loved ones.
1. Heart Disease
Research suggests that there is some correlation between gum disease and heart disease and that maintaining good oral hygiene is a factor in the battle against heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular conditions.
Poor oral health has been connected to higher rates of pneumonia in adults. By breathing in bacterial droplets found in the mouth into the lungs, those over the age of 65 are more prone to the condition. Combating this bacteria could be as simple as maintaining good oral hygiene with regular brushing, flossing and mouth rinses.
Periodontitis, or severe gum disease, hinders the body’s ability to use insulin. High blood sugar can also lead to gum infection, leading to a vicious cycle between poor teeth and poor health. Regular dental checkups and good oral care can help prevent this.
4. Darkened Teeth
As we age the bone-like tissue that underlies our enamel changes as a result of our diets. Staining can occur, as can thinning of the outer enamel layer, leading to yellowing and darkened teeth, and eventually cavities, pain and decay.
5. Gum Disease
The food and plaque left in our teeth, as well as the use of tobacco, poor diet, ill-fitting dentures, anaemia, cancer, and diabetes, can all lead to gum disease. Gum disease can, in turn, lead to tooth loss and decay as well as pain and inflammation that makes eating and drinking uncomfortable.
6. Dry Mouth
Taking medications, as well as cancer treatments, can lead to dry mouth. Saliva is needed to sustain oral health as it protects teeth from decay and alleviates the risk of infection through the control of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Having a dry mouth can affect this process and lead to poor oral health.
7. Root Decay
Acid in foods can lead to the decay of the roots that hold our teeth in place. This is very common in those over the age of 60, with their gum-lines receding and their roots being left exposed to decay.
8. Uneven Jaw
If teeth are lost and not replaced with false teeth, the rest tend to drift and shift to the open spaces left in the mouth. This can lead to an uneven jawbone which can, in turn, lead to bite issues and a change in appearance.
9. Denture Related Stomatitis
Poor fitting dentures, bad oral hygiene, and the build up of Candida Albicans, a fungus found in the mouth, can lead to inflammation of the tissue underlying a denture. This can be very uncomfortable.
So how do we avoid all these nasty issues? Effective and regular visits to the dentist are paramount. You may be predisposed to dental issues, or may be affected by medication, lifestyle or injury. It is a good idea to visit your dentist every 6 months after the age of 60 so that they can stay on top of any issues you may encounter. If you are already having trouble, or if you encounter any pain or discomfort, consult your dentist to set up an appropriate routine to maintain your oral health.
Improving your dental care at home is easy. Brush twice a day, floss regularly, and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash once or twice a day. Dentures should be cleaned daily.
Keep your mouth happy and never stop smiling!