Geriatric dentistry specializes in helping patients understand and combat both natural and preventable oral health changes that are associated with aging.
Natural Aging of Teeth
Like any other part of your body, you can expect to see a variety of natural changes in the appearance and functionality of your teeth as they age. The enamel and dentin are the parts of the tooth that are most likely to be affected by age. Erosion can also be common.
Some typical changes to aging enamel, or the outer layer of the tooth, can include:
- Erosion (wearing down)
- Discoloration as enamel thins
- A higher risk of chipped teeth as enamel naturally weakens
The dentin, or the middle layer of the tooth, can also show signs of age, such as:
- Discoloration of the tooth as enamel thins, which makes dentin more visible
Increased Risk for Chronic Dry Mouth and Disease
Aging also increases the likelihood of developing chronic dry mouth, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Some oral health problems can be linked to other health issues, such as diabetes or hypertension.
One of the major functions of saliva is helping to remove plaque from the teeth and gums. Chronic dry mouth, or a lower level of saliva in the mouth, can lead to increased plaque buildup, which increases the risk for cavities and gum disease. Chronic dry mouth can also be a bothersome condition on its own, and drinking more water is one of the most effective ways to combat the problem.
Many geriatric dentistry patients take several prescription medications, which can be linked to certain oral health problems.
Preventing and Treating Geriatric Dental Issues
While most patients can expect to experience some natural aging of their teeth, many geriatric dental problems can be minimized or prevented with adequate oral healthcare. Erosion and discoloration can be minimized by maintaining proper oral hygiene, such as by continuing to brush and floss teeth regularly. More severe issues, such as gum disease, can often be prevented with regular dental and medical visits. Many dental services are also available to help combat dental problems associated with aging.
At Esthetix Dental Spa, we care about helping our older patients maintain excellent oral health. Contact us today to learn more about our geriatric dental services or to schedule an appointment!