Despite our resistance, we all have to grow older eventually. Yet, as the years go by, your health and well-being should stay top of mind. One part of overall health that frequently gets taken for granted is oral health.
With the majority of Americans having dental issues, more emphasis should be placed on your dental health and dentistry in the 50s, 60, 70s and beyond. There are some common dental issues that come up as we age, and it’s important to be aware of the things that are likely to impact you at different stages of life.
In your 50s
It is not uncommon at this life stage to begin realizing and experiencing changes to your body and making adjustments to your lifestyle and medical care accordingly. Dentistry in the 50s is also part of this equation. Your teeth, especially, start to get worn down from everyday wear and tear. But, don’t worry — this is a normal. However, as your teeth age, you are more prone to such dental issues as tooth sensitivity, gum diseases, dry mouth, and tooth decay. It’s necessary to maintain healthy teeth cleaning habits, such as brushing regularly with a quality toothpaste, and flossing. Also, frequent visits to your dentist are important to monitor tooth aging. If these aren’t habits you’ve already adopted, it’s imperative to do so now.
Osteoporosis can also begin at this stage of life, which can weaken the jawbone and therefore the support structure for the teeth. Make sure to keep note of any variations you feel or see in your mouth, and make mention of these at your next dentist appointment.
In your 60s
This is a decade in tooth health where supervision and diligence is critical.
Seventy percent of Americans over the age of 65 have some degree of periodontal disease, which begins with gingivitis and can result in tooth loss. Moreover, the average age of an oral cancer patient is 62. When caught early, oral cancer treatments and recovery are very possible. It is key for both you and your dentist to keep an eye on your dental health as it can be an indication of more serious problems.
Retirement is another common occurrence in your 60s that you may not realize can impact your oral health. It’s important to consider how retirement will change your healthcare benefits. But losing company-sponsored dental insurance doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your oral health. There are affordable dental plans for seniors that can help you to supplement these expenses.
In your 70s
As you enter your 70s, this is a critical time to keep your health in check. With the chances of tooth decay, tooth loss, and disease growing, it is important to maintain regular dental exams every six months.
During this phase in life, you may find you’re a candidate for dentures to replace some or all of your natural teeth. With today’s technology and advancements in dental care, dentures aren’t as complex or as much of a hassle as they once were. Now, dentures can be much more comfortable because they are fitted and adjusted precisely to your mouth. They are also fashioned to be more attractive and durable than they were in the past. There are programs available to provide low-cost dentures for seniors as well as dentures for seniors on Medicare.
The use of prescription drugs can also be a factor impacting your oral health in your 70s. The average American is taking over five prescribed medications at this stage of life so it’s important to be aware of how these prescriptions might be affecting your teeth. Dry mouth is a common side effect of medications, for example. While this may not seem like a severe consequence, it can cause issues such as tooth decay. Be sure to inform your dentist of all prescribed and non-prescribed medications you take regularly. This way, he or she will be able to provide the best dental care options for you.
Like the rest of your body, your teeth do age. That’s why it’s important to be diligent with your oral care and to be aware of the common problems associated with aging. With proper hygiene habits and routine checkups, you can ensure that your pearly whites stay with you for life.