Times change, people change, and fashions change. We often focus on the differences between generations without stopping to consider common ground. Take oral hygiene, for example. Healthy teeth and gums will never go out of style. Tooth decay, the most prevalent chronic disease in children, also happen to be the most common chronic affliction in adults over the age of 65. At Cornerstone Dental, we find it troubling that 90 percent of older adults have cavities, and that one-fourth of the elderly population haven’t set a dental appointment within the last five years. For older adults who have lost teeth to tooth decay, Dr. Ryan Hussong offers full and partial dentures in Polk City, IA. Cornerstone Dental also offers preventive dental care, which could eliminate the need for dentures at a future date.
How Does Aging Affect Oral Health?
Patients often focus on the cosmetic aspects of aging, such as the formation of wrinkles, changes in hair color, and skin tone. Although we understand that appearance is an important aspect of one’s identity, what about the factors that directly impact the ability to eat, speak, and thrive? As we age, the risk of oral cancer, tooth decay, and gum disease increases. Even if you do not have your natural teeth, dental visits are vital to your health. We recently read the story of Dr. Bill Harris, a dentist living and practicing in New Mexico, who just happens to be 91 years old. According to Dr. Harris, even advancements in technology—and he’s seen many—cannot eliminate the need for tried-and-true brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings.
Many of our older patients take multiple prescription medications to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, and hormone imbalances. While these medications improve seniors’ quality of life, virtually any drug has the ability to cause side effects, especially dry mouth. Production of saliva, which your body produces as a natural cleanser for teeth and gums, decreases significantly with age. Over time, dry mouth can lead to bad breath, tooth decay, poorly fitting dentures, and problems chewing.
How Can Older Adults Maintain Healthy Teeth and Gums?
Dr. Hussong recommends consuming plenty of water, which hydrates your whole body, not just your mouth. Chewing gum helps tame bad breath and dry mouth, but only if you choose sugarless gum. Otherwise, you increase your risk of developing cavities. Our patients also find that saliva replacements, which you can purchase without a prescription, improve speaking ability and comfort.
Regardless of whether you wear dentures or have your natural teeth, you must protect yourself against gum disease. Left untreated, periodontal disease endangers your health and affects far more than just your mouth. You will be more prone to infections, many of which can spread to your heart or liver. Visiting Dr. Hussong increases your chances of preventing or reversing gum disease in its earliest stages.
Questions about caring for your teeth? To request more information about our services, or to schedule an appointment, contact our Polk City, IA dentist office at 515-984-6001. You can also find Cornerstone Dental on Facebook, where we share the latest news and insights on dentistry and healthy living. We serve patients living in Alleman, Ankeny, Bondurant, and surrounding communities.