We’ve talked before about the different oral health challenges that face children and teenagers as they grow up, but the fact is that our teeth don’t stop changing when we become adults. Those of us who are in our 40s and 50s and beyond also face unique challenges when it comes to keeping healthy smiles, and as we age, we need to reevaluate our dental hygiene and oral care habits accordingly. Here are a few of the biggest challenges facing our teeth as we get older, and what your Overland Park dentist can do to help:
- Tooth Decay: While we may think of cavities mainly as something that affect younger kids, tooth decay isn’t something that goes away with age. In fact, as we get older, we face the added dangers of tooth decay around old fillings or at the roots of our teeth. As we age, our gums may recede and the roots of our teeth may become softer, which can lead to increased risk of tooth decay. The solution? Good brushing and flossing habits, as well as the possible addition of a daily fluoride rinse. Before you take that step, though, consult with your Overland Park dentist to see what you can to do help prevent tooth decay and keep that healthy smile!
- Gum Disease: Cavities may be the first thing we think of when we think of oral health concerns, but according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 47% of adults over the age of 30 have some form of periodontitis, or gum disease. Gum disease, which begins as gingivitis before progressing to periodontitis, usually manifests first as red, swollen gums that may bleed easily. Untreated gum disease can lead the gums to pull away from the tooth, and eventually to tooth loss or bone loss in the jaw. The best treatment for gum disease is to make regular visits to your Overland Park dentist.
- Tooth Crowding: We all know that our teeth shift and move when we’re growing up—many of us wore retainers or braces when we were in school—but that doesn’t stop when we become adults. Our teeth continue to shift throughout our lives, and misaligned teeth in adulthood can lead to problems like increased tooth decay or even erosion and damage of the supporting bone and tissue. If you think your teeth may be shifting or crowding, check with your Overland Park dentist on your next visit. If there’s a problem, we can fit you with retainers or spacers that can help put teeth back in alignment, or simply schedule more frequent cleanings to help promote healthy teeth and healthy smiles.
We’re never busier than when we’re in our 40s and 50s, and it’s easy to let self-care fall by the wayside of our families and jobs. But good oral health habits are important throughout your life. Maintaining good brushing and flossing habits, limiting or eliminating tobacco and alcohol, staying hydrated, and possibly taking extra calcium can all help keep your teeth strong and your smile healthy in your 40s, 50s, and beyond. And of course, you should always make regular visits to your Overland Park dentist, your best ally in the fight against tooth decay, gum disease, and any other oral health concerns that you may face.
Looking for ways to improve your oral health or just ready to schedule your next appointment? Call Watts Family Dental at (913) 338-3384 today!