Today Americans are keeping their teeth longer than even before and the average number of teeth we retain as we age is beginning to increase. With this mind, it is important to beware of potential dental concerns that may arise or may already be effecting us. Dr. Hendricks, a specialist in implant dentistry, cosmetic and restorative dentistry for adults, would like to share some of the common dental health problems that we may face as we mature.
Tooth Cavities & Dry Mouth
A common cause of cavities as we get older is dry mouth- a possible side effect from taking medications to treat a number of conditions and diseases. It is important to share with your dentists any medications you are taking so that they can make suggestions to relieve dry mouth symptoms and in turn, prevent future cavities. Your dentist may recommend an ADA approved oral moisturizer or other methods to restore moisture to your mouth and increase the flow of saliva.
According to the CDC as many as 64% of Americans over the age of 65 have moderate to severe forms of periodontal disease. Often a painless condition until its advanced stage, gum disease is caused by the bacteria in plaque, which irritate the gums, making them swollen, red and more likely to bleed. Eventually, the gum pulls away from the tooth and creates pockets which can become infected. If this condition develops and continues unchecked, it may destroy the gums, bone and ligaments supporting the teeth leading to tooth loss. Again, regular dental visits can help to treat or prevent gum disease entirely.
There are about 35,000 cases of oral cancers diagnosed each year according to the American Cancer Society. Symptoms can be characterized by open sores, white or reddish patches, and changes in the lips, tongue and lining of the mouth that lasts for more than two weeks. Your regular dental exam should include a check for cancer- early detection can save lives!
During preventive care visits to Dr. Hendricks, he and his staff can spot the early signs of tooth decay and gum disease, offering treatment before significant damage is done. Modern dentistry emphasizes the importance of keeping the natural teeth as long as possible, supporting their health with preventive and restorative dentistry. Contact us to schedule your appointment.