5 Oral Health Problems Older Adults Should Avoid

Brushing teeth

Your teeth change as you age. Years ago older people automatically replaced their teeth with dentures. But thanks to preventive dental care, more people are keeping their teeth. Dental insurance helps pay the bill for regular dental appointments, including professional cleanings and exams, to help people avoid oral health problems that may occur with age. Here’s a list of five common problems:

  1. Tooth decay – As people age, the roots of teeth soften, creating new surfaces where decay can develop. Cavities also can form around old fillings, edges of crowns or at the root.
  2. Dry mouth – People tend to produce less saliva as they age. Saliva naturally rinses teeth. It also contains phosphate and calcium, which are important to preventing the demineralization of teeth. Reduced production of saliva may be caused by medications, smoking or damage to the salivary gland.
  3. Oral cancer – Over 43,000 Americans are diagnosed annually with oral cancer. If caught at an early stage, there is an 80 percent chance of survival for at least five years. Incidents of oral cancer increase with age. Risk factors may include smoking and heavy use of alcohol.
  4. Gum disease – If gums become inflamed, red or bloody, you may have gingivitis, which can lead to a periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious bacterial infection that can damage gum tissue and destroy bone.
  5. Misalignment – Over time teeth may shift and overlap, providing new places for food particles to hide and create decay. Tooth surfaces may erode and cause damage to the roots and gum tissue.

Some people believe a technique called oil pulling may provide healing for oral health problems.


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