Aging is inevitable, but you can be prepared to face the unique challenges that often accompany getting older. Your oral health plays an essential role in determining your overall health, and becoming a senior citizen could create some unique dental concerns that you need to address.
Here are three common dental concerns senior citizens face, and some simple solutions to help you prevent them from having an adverse effect on your health in the future.
1. Recurrent Cavities
Statistics show that 92% of adults aged 20 to 64 have had at least one dental carie (commonly known as a cavity) in their permanent teeth. While filling existing cavities is essential to prevent additional damage, these fillings can begin to break down over time.
Once you become a senior citizen, it's essential that you are on the lookout for fillings that are no longer viable. As these fillings break down, bacteria can find their way into the enamel surrounding the filling. This leads to the tooth decay that causes recurrent cavities. Be sure that you are keeping regularly scheduled appointments with your dentist to identify any fillings that might need to be replaced in order to avoid recurrent cavities in the future.
2. Loose Teeth
As you grow older, you may notice that your teeth become loose. Many senior citizens also begin to lose their permanent teeth. Loose teeth could be caused by periodontal disease. Periodontal disease causes no pain, so many people don't realize they are afflicted until it is too late.
If you have periodontal disease, you could be experiencing deterioration of the bone structure holding your teeth in place. Since experts estimate that 70.1% of adults over the age of 65 have periodontal disease, it's important to visit your dentist regularly to identify (and treat) the symptoms of this prevalent dental problem.
3. Oral Cancer
The first health warning messages did not appear on cigarette packages until 1965. Many people smoked cigarettes prior to this time without knowing the risks associated with smoking regularly.
Since senior citizens were in their youth prior to 1965, oral cancer caused by smoking could be a serious concern. If you smoked regularly during your youth, it's important that you work together with your dentist to watch for signs of oral cancer in the future.
As the body ages, it's important to be aware of unique health concerns that you may face. Dental problems like recurrent cavities, loose teeth, and oral cancer are prevalent among the senior population, so be sure you are working with a dentist, like those at Sun Dental & Orthodontics, to address these problems as you age.