Common Dental Issues in Seniors

When your oral health starts to slide, it’s not always because your dental hygiene habits have changed or become less effective. You may simply be seeing another sign of the passing years. Some dental procedures like fillings or veneers have a lifespan and eventually need maintenance. 

However, there are other conditions that potentially affect virtually everyone, no matter what previous work they’ve had. There are four common dental issues that come up frequently for the older crowd. These are: 

The team at Hillsdale Dental Care knows the problems you face, and they’re on the lookout for small problems today that could become big issues down the road. 

Stains on teeth

You’re facing more than simply the accumulation of every cup of coffee or glass of red wine. Tooth enamel thins over time, exposing the dentin, a naturally yellow substance, underneath. As you get older, your teeth are also less resilient to the staining properties of foods, beverages, and tobacco.

Teeth whitening performed by Hillsdale Dental Care is the fastest and best way to achieve the brightest white shades possible. Over-the-counter whitening solutions trade strength for safety, so you’ll see limited benefits that take weeks or longer to appear. 

Dry mouth

Known medically as xerostomia, dry mouth occurs as saliva production subsides as a result of conditions like medication side effects, diabetes, or Sjogren’s syndrome, among others. 

Dry mouth can be rough on your teeth since saliva serves as a protective barrier against sugars and acids while diluting cavity-causing bacteria. Severe tooth decay can occur more easily when your mouth is dry, so try eating sugar-free candy to keep those salivary glands active, or use a mouth rinse designed to help dry mouth conditions. 

Gum disease

Gum disease affects people of any age, but about 70% of Americans older than 65 have gum disease, more than any other age group. Gum disease can occur even if you’re on top of dental care at home. Risk factors for gum disease include:

Gum disease contributes to receding gums and tooth loss, so your hygiene efforts may need to stretch beyond brushing and flossing. Mouth guards and gum shields can reduce nighttime teeth clenching and grinding. Ask your provider if an oral appliance can benefit you. 

Oral cancer

Aging increases the risk of many forms of cancer. Add tobacco use to that and the risks can skyrocket. Be alert for sores developing in your mouth that don’t heal, since this could be an early sign of a tumor. Mention any such issue to your caregiver, who will already be on the alert for signs of oral cancer. 

To minimize your risk of developing oral cancer, quit smoking or cut down as much as you can, and make sure you see us for regular checkups for early detection.

Contact Hillsdale Dental Care in San Jose at 408-444-8069 to arrange a checkup and consultation to assure you’re getting the care you need as you get older. Book your appointment today. 

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