Your Golden Years

Getting older brings its own set of challenges for your mouth. Research has found many links between oral health and various diseases, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, pancreatic cancer, and diabetes. To discuss each of these in this article would make for a very long article indeed, so the problems will get their own articles. The main point is that it is important that you take extra good care of your teeth and mouth. (But if you just can't wait, you can check out these sections of my website: Diabetes & Oral Health and Aging & Dental Health)


One of the most common complaints of aging is teeth that don’t look white. As you age, so do your teeth. The color of your teeth comes mostly from the dentin—a layer that is located below tooth enamel. After a lifetime of consuming stain causing foods and beverages, your dentin can no longer fight off the discoloration. Since this color is inside your tooth, you’d need professional whitening or restorations to change it. You can learn more about whitening your teeth in this section of my website: Teeth WhiteningCosmetic Tooth BondingCrowns & BridgeworkTooth-Colored Fillings, and Porcelain Veneers


Aging often means needing medications for various problems. Many of these medications—too many to list—cause dry mouth. Your teeth rely on the rinsing action of saliva to remove bacteria and food. Less rinsing action can result in an increase in tooth decay and dental cavities. Here are some links to areas to learn more about this topic: Blood Pressure Medications & Your GumsDry MouthOsteoporosis & Oral Health, and Tips to Prevent Cavities.


Your gums are also affected by diet, oral health, body diseases, smoking and medications. Dental plaque builds up faster as you age and holds the bacteria that cause gum disease against your gums. Over time, this creates gum disease (also called periodontal disease) and may cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, exposing your tooth root. Your exposed roots may develop cavities or become sensitive to temperatures. Here are some links for more information on these topics: Nutrition & Oral Health and Periodontal (Gum) Disease


Hopefully, you can see that taking care of your teeth and gums by brushing and flossing may help to prevent some of these problems. If you’re finding it difficult to brush or floss like you should, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist or look here; How To BrushHow To Floss and Interdental Cleaning Devices You should also be seeing your dentist on a regular basis for Professional Teeth Cleanings. Let's keep your smile bright and healthy well into your golden years!


Note: This advice is not intended to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare providers.


Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist whose office is taking new patients. Call 440-960-1940 to schedule an appointment at her office located at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH. ,