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3150 North Elm Street, Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408

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Greensboro Dental Clinic, Dr. Margaret Szott

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November 25th, 2019

Dental Issues As You Age

As you age, it becomes even more essential to take care of your dental health because your body, your teeth, and mouth go through changes.   Increasing age puts many seniors at risk for several oral health problems including dry mouth, gum disease, darkened teeth, and oral cancer.

Dry Mouth

As you age, the nerves in your teeth become smaller, making you less sensitive to cavities or other problems. You also enter the second round of cavity prone years due to other causes of cavities such as dry mouth. Dry mouth is a side effect of more than 500 medications, including those for allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety and depression, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease.  It is essential to let your dentist know of any medications you take or any conditions you may be experiencing so that they can make recommendations to relieve dry mouth symptoms and help avoid cavities. 

Gum Disease

Gum disease is caused when plaque and tartar remain on your teeth and irritates the gums. If left unattended, your gums will become swollen and bleed easily.  This is known as gingivitis. Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis is left unattended and starts to destroy the bone that support your teeth. Gum disease becomes prominent among adults because it is often a painless condition until the advanced stages. Advanced gum disease can lead to tooth loss.   However, attending regular dental visits can treat and prevent gum disease. 

Darkened Teeth

This you eat and drink through the years erode the outer layer of tooth enamel away.  As a result, the darker second layer of tooth, dentin, is more evident through the thinner enamel layer.  Staining food and beverage can also cause extrinsic stain on the teeth.   If tooth discoloration is a cosmetic concern for you, discuss your options with your dentist during your next visit. 

Oral Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 35,000 cases of mouth, throat, and tongue cancer diagnosed each year.  The average age of most people diagnosed with these cancers is 62. The dentist will check for any signs of oral cancer during dental visits because, in the early stages, oral cancer typically does not cause pain. Some symptoms may include open sores, white or reddish patches, and changes in the lips, tongue, and lining of the mouth that lasts for more than two weeks.

Paying for Dental Care after Retirement

Many retirees don’t realize that Medicare does not cover routine dental care. So it is a good idea to plan for your dental expenses during retirement and possibly select a supplemental dental insurance plan that can help offset the cost. 

If you want to feel good, stay healthy, and look great throughout life, you might be surprised what a difference proper oral hygiene makes. It is important to remember the basics of oral health: brush at least twice a day with a toothbrush with soft bristles and floss at least once a day, and schedule regular visits at your dentist. By adopting healthy habits and lifestyle choices and seeking proper dental attention, you can help your teeth last a lifetime.

Where We Are Located

3150 North Elm Street
Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408
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