Majority of Australian adults have poor oral hygiene, leading to irreversible dental problems as they get older. Several cases of tooth decay have been reported across the country because only half of the population brush their teeth twice per day. It has also been discovered that adults tend to drop good brushing habits, especially as they age!
It may be tempting to skip dental appointments or good brushing habits. But as you get older, you will become more vulnerable to dental issues that can stop you from flashing your pearly whites confidently. Before it’s too late, take care of your teeth and watch out for these common dental health issues.
Common Dental Health Issues Amongst Older Adults
- Gum Diseases
Gum tissues recede as you age, leaving your teeth more vulnerable to many dental issues. The gap between your receding gums and exposed teeth can serve as an environment where infections and plaque can develop. This can lead to gum or periodontal disease, which can cause irritation, swelling, and even bleeding in your gum area. Advanced cases of this disease can also cause permanent damage on your gums and lead to tooth loss.
- Tooth Decay
This is the leading dental problem amongst most Australian adults. In fact, Australians aged fifteen years and over have an average of 11.2 decayed or missing teeth. This number goes further up for adults aged 50 and up because the roots of their teeth become more soft and exposed to the major causes of cavities.
- Dry Mouth
Your medications and even the shift in your hormones can lessen your production of saliva. As a result, you may notice significant difficulties in eating, swallowing, and talking. Most importantly, dry mouth or xerostomia can also increase your risk for gum diseases and tooth decay because your saliva aids in your oral health by preventing cavities.
- Oral Cancer
Majority of the people diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer are around 65 years old. This is especially significant for seniors who may have smoking or drinking habits. The first symptoms of this chronic disease can start with white or red spots and sores inside your mouth. However, it can quickly escalate and cause difficulties in eating, speaking, or moving your tongue and jaw.
Tips on Caring For Your Dental Health
Consistency is key for optimal dental health. If you want to preserve your beautiful smile, you need be consistent with good dental practices. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, preferably after you finish eating your meals. Make sure that you are not brushing your teeth too hard because this can cause enamel abrasion and further gum recession, causing your teeth to become more sensitive and weak. You also need to floss your teeth at least once a day so that you can prevent plaque from developing in the areas that your toothbrush cannot reach.
You may also enhance your dental health by using teeth whitening products and oral moisturizers. Your teeth can become more yellow as you grow older because the enamel gets stained and becomes thinner over time. Teeth whitening products like whitening strips can help address the discolouration of your pearly whites. This is an easy, safe, and affordable method to restore the beauty of your teeth. On the other hand, oral moisturizers can help address the dryness in your mouth. Try to look for over-the-counter saliva substitutes, such as a spray or a mouthwash that contains xylitol.
Last but most definitely not least, you must not neglect the importance of regular dental examinations. You need to book these dental exams so that your dentist can check for cavities and gum diseases that may have developed. You also need to have your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist at least twice a year.
You are at a higher risk for dental issues as you get older. However, you can easily combat these issues and protect your pearly whites by regularly practising good dental habits.