Does Oral Health Change When We Get Older?

You have to feel for teeth, the amount of biting, gnashing, chewing, grinding – they take a battering over a lifetime. But with the proper oral health care regime throughout your life, you can keep them looking good for longer. The truth is your teeth change with age and you should have a different regime to the one you had when you were younger.

Does Oral Health Change When We Get Older?

A common misconception is that teeth become more brittle with age – they don’t according to the American Dental Association. However they may become darker due to the aging and thickening of the teeth’s middle layer (dentin). While this happens the tooth enamel on your teeth also thins allowing for the darker color to come through. The teeth also become discolored from food, coffee and smoking stains. Gums may recede and there may be some shrinkage of the bone around the teeth, which can lead to root sensitivity.

Aging teeth should be cleaned at least twice daily in a good oral health care regime. The aim is to remove the plaque and food debris from in-between the teeth and around the margins of the gums. All surfaces of the teeth should be brushed working on two teeth at a time. Be aware of any loose teeth or decay that needs attention. Flossing is particularly important for older adults because they are at increased risk for gum disease.

Daily flossing can also help stop your gums receding. If you have trouble with flossing, try an electric flosser to help remove food particles. Spongy floss is another option that works well to fully fill the gaps between the teeth and remove any food present. Careful examination should also be given to lips, tongue for sores or unusual bleeding.

Oral Health Care

Comprehensive oral health care remains important as you age and catching any problems before they develop is a good way to approach it. For those with stained teeth, whitening toothpastes are a good option to combat unsightly stains. Care should be given to the brand you choose, as some are less sensitive on the teeth as others. If sensitivity becomes a problem, fluoride rinses can help as can the myriad of sensitivity countering toothpastes on the market.

You should also take steps at avoiding gingivitis. A recent report from the Health Care Research Centre and Proctor & Gamble, a manufacturer of oral health care products, claimed the intensified mechanical oral hygiene’ – brushing and flossing – combined with an antibacterial mouth rinse on plaque, had the effect of reducing and preventing gingivitis.

The purpose of the report was to investigate the effects of different product combinations of brushing, pasting, rinsing, and flossing on the prevention of plaque growth and gingivitis. In its conclusions, it suggested that plaque was reduced when therapeutic rinses were combined with manual brushing opposed to using a brush and rinse alone. Most of our dentists support the findings in recommending a regimen that includes thorough brushing and flossing combined with a fluoride rinse.

For a consultation, call Wagner Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Specialists at (262) 634-4646 today — we’ll take excellent care of you.