Aging and Tooth Loss

Aging and Tooth Loss

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Aging and Tooth Loss
Dr. Choi, EverSmile Dentistry in Sterling, VA

As you age, you may be in fear that, as a normal part of aging, you might lose your teeth. But that doesn’t have to be the case. While losing baby teeth is normal, losing teeth as an adult is not a part of the normal aging process.

Here are some of the reasons older adults lose teeth:

Periodontal Disease
The leading cause of tooth loss in older adults is periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, caused by plaque and tartar that builds up over time. The earliest stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis, an infection of the gums, where gums are red and swollen and can bleed easily. Left untreated, the infection can spread to tooth-supporting bone and tissue.

Improper or Irregular Cleaning
As adults age, it may become more difficult for them to properly clean their own teeth. That is why it is so important to keep regular cleaning and checkup appointments, especially if periodontal disease has been detected. Dental visits up to four times a year are recommended to keep the disease from progressing. And investment in an electric toothbrush or Waterpik-type water flossing device, along with dental rinses and regular flossing, can aid in home dental care.

Nutritional Imbalances
Eating healthy foods that contain plenty of vitamins and minerals can keep teeth healthy as well as the body. Lack of these nutrients, such as the lack of calcium in the diet, can lead to the risk of tooth loss. Older adults should monitor their intake of high-carbohydrate foods, junk foods and sugar.

Unhealthy Habits
Smokers have twice the risk of tooth loss as those who don’t smoke. In fact, all tobacco products, including cigarettes, pipe smoking and smokeless tobacco can raise the risk of gum disease, and the more cigarettes one smokes, the higher the risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), smoking weakens your body’s infection fighters (immune system) making it harder to fight off a gum infection, and once you have an infection, makes it more difficult for your gums to heal. Other unhealthy habits include drinking alcohol, tooth grinding, and chewing on hard candy or ice.

How Can You Keep Your Teeth Longer?
The best ways to ensure a healthy mouth is to brush and floss twice a day, and visit your dentist regularly for cleaning and checkups. Your dentist will notice if you’re grinding your teeth or are exhibiting early symptoms of gum disease and caught early, these problems can be remedied. For more advanced gum disease, regular monitoring and treatment will lessen its effects on tooth loss.

EverSmile Dentistry Loves Seniors

If you haven’t seen a dentist regularly, don’t be intimidated. Set your appointment to get back on track with regular dental care.

EverSmile Dentistry loves to see seniors in our office, and you may qualify for our Senior Discount or flexible payment programs for senior dental care. Please contact us today to set your appointment. We want to make sure you keep your teeth for life!

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