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Aging and Dental Health: Phoenix AZ Gum Disease, Tooth Loss and Other Dangers

What do you know about aging and dental health?  Did you know that you may experience less pain due to changes in nerves?  Or that oral cancers can be detected early through oral health screenings? Or that dry mouth can lead to serious tooth loss? Aging also increases the need for gum disease treatment. It speeds tooth decay and tooth loss.  For all of these reasons, it is essential that you visit your Phoenix AZ dentist on a regular basis. 

Phoenix AZ Gum Disease

As we age, plaque builds. This can cause gum disease, and that can lead to tooth loss.  The health of your gums will affect your teeth roots.  When it gets bad, you can lose teeth.  Receding gums is a related problem.  This exposes the roots and increases the chances of losing teeth.

What to Do:  When you are brushing, use your soft toothbrush to go along the gum line. The fluoride can penetrate and help keep your gums healthy. You also need to floss every day.  Finally, go to the dentist every six months for a cleaning to remove plaque at the gum line. If you have a serious problem, gum disease treatments can reduce the chances of tooth loss.

Tooth Decay

Regular trips to the dentist are a good way to find and fight tooth decay.  You are less likely to lose teeth if cavities are treated right away. It is tempting to avoid dental care, but it just increases the likelihood you’ll have big problems due to aging. 

What to Do:  Talk to your dentist about your risk of tooth decay and what treatments you can use to decrease risk.  This may include avoiding certain foods and beverages.  A fluoride-containing mouth rinse may be prescribed or your dentist may suggest an in-office treatment such as a fluoride varnish.

Tooth Loss

If you lose a tooth due to decay or impaction, don’t get depressed.  Dental bridges and implants can stabilize your other teeth, helping to reduce the chances you’ll lose more.  The average person has lost 1 to 7 teeth by the time they are in their 60s.

What to Do: If you lose a tooth to decay, ask your dentist what can be done to stabilize the teeth on either side.  If you are worried about a tooth, don’t wait. Get help and maybe the tooth can be saved.

Dry Mouth

If you suffer from dry mouth, this is another reason to see your dentist regularly.  The lack of saliva actually hastens tooth decay because there’s nothing natural to wash away acid and food.  

What to Do:  Drink water throughout the day.  Small sips will restore some of the moisture needed to combat tooth decay. Ask your doctor what is causing the problem. It can be medication or illness.  Certain gums and mouthwashes can help.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a major health risk for people over 55. It especially affects men.  Tobacco use and alcohol use are two factors.  However, you can develop oral cancers for other reasons.

What to Do:  Ask for an oral health screening each time you visit the dentist. We use a special instrument to detect problems that need to be addressed. If you do have an unexplained patch or growth, we will send you to an oral surgeon for sample analysis.  Early detection saves lives and reduces the need for difficult treatments.

At your Sky Dental office, you can get help with problems related to aging and dental health. Regular checkups and cleanings can reduce the threat of gum disease and tooth loss.

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