Oral Health and Aging
One common dental misconception is that losing teeth is unavoidable with age. Adult teeth typically begin erupting at age 6 and function throughout our lives. With proper care, your teeth can last the duration of your life. Our Jacksonville dentist Dr. Rachel Monteiro, located in the 32217 zip code, and her compassionate team can ensure you and your family experience excellent oral health throughout all stages of life.
How do factors associated with aging impact oral health?
Bones: Over time our bodies become less efficient – cells regenerate at a slower pace, tissues become thinner, and bones begin to lose strength. Teeth are held in place by bone; when oral bone begins to lose density, patients become more susceptible to loose teeth and potentially tooth loss. Loose teeth can cause the gums to recede, which leaves more tooth surface exposed and unprotected. As we age we must realize how our bodies are slowing down metabolically and take the proper steps to control the body’s natural changes by updating nutrition, medications, and living a healthy lifestyle.
Medications: As we get older our mouth naturally produces less saliva which is necessary for chewing, swallowing, and maintaining a clean oral environment. Medications hinder the production of saliva, causing “dry mouth,” which increases the probability of tooth decay or gum disease. There are over 400 medications that are known to create this dry environment – these range widely from those that treat hypertension to antidepressants. When starting a new medication, we recommend that our patients take note of any changes they notice in their mouth.
Disabled or under assisted care: Patients with severe cognitive limitations, such as elderly suffering with dementia, are at higher risk for decay, gum disease, and oral infection. Potential issues also rise with older adults that have physical limitations that prohibit them from achieving the manual dexterity needed to brush or floss. In such cases, it is extremely important for the patient and their caregiver to establish a routine to guarantee daily oral care needs are met. Additionally, caregivers can help by ensuring regular appointments are scheduled and attended.
Take a moment to thank your teeth for the hard work they have done for you throughout the years by showing them you care. Schedule your visit with Dr. Monteiro at River Oaks Dental to discuss your oral health and determine any changes that should be considered. Family members and caregivers are welcome to be present during the appointment with patient approval. Call us at 904.348.0416 to schedule your next visit and visit our website to learn more about River Oaks Dental.