In our previous article, we discussed certain conditions that affect the baby boomer population; such as, dry mouth and cavities. Now, let’s continue to discuss some of the additional dental issues that are encountered by older Americans. According to projections, around 35 percent of the U.S. population will be 50 and above by 2020. Here are some additional dental issues that are prevalent in the population aged 50 and above.
Swollen, reddened and bleeding gums might not be your biggest concern at younger age. But as one ages, inflamed gums (also known as gingivitis) transforms into a serious issue. In old age, gum diseases are often the precursor of total tooth loss. Let’s see how:
If you are leaving your inflamed gums untreated, then soon they will transform into a condition called periodontitis. In this aggravated oral condition, gums start to pull away from the teeth which results in the formation of fissures in between.
If periodontitis is not treated in time, these pockets between the gum and the teeth get severely infected by plaque and bacteria. With ageing effect on the root of the teeth, this infection could culminate into the loss of teeth and oral bones. This dental issue can catalyze the deterioration in oral cavity and might lead to permanent loss of several teeth.
So it is quite evident that gum diseases in old age are not just a run-of-the-mill dental issue and persisting with it can certainly lead to irreversible oral damage. Frequent visits to a certified dentist and regular teeth cleaning routine will help you in preventing inflamed gums, particularly at old age.
Mouth or oral cancer is the most serious issue in the domain of dental care and particularly for aging individuals. According to a survey report of National Cancer Institute, the rate of oral cancer has increased by 15% in last four decades.
The survey also notes that the prevalence of the disease increases with age. In people 50 and above, the occurrence of oral cancer is significantly higher and most of these cancer patients fall within the age bracket of 60 and 70. So, if you are going to turn 50 in near future or have already crossed it then you should remain on guard.
There are a couple of elements which might be a link between old age and oral cancer:
- Excessive smoking throughout the years continuously leaves the carcinogenic imprints in the oral cavity, making an individual more susceptible to develop cancer on gums, cheeks and internal lining of the mouth.
- Heavy alcohol consumption is also associated with the prevalence of oral cancer. Even though there isn’t enough research conducted on the subject, but some studies have hinted about the link between cirrhosis and changes in the oral mucosa which is often witnessed in the people with oral cancer. Aside from that, alcohol is a strong dehydrating agent and can facilitate the carcinogens to settle in the mouth cavity.
The survival rate in oral cancer is around 50 percent. The chances of surviving this deadly disease get higher with its early detection. For that matter, it is important to get yourself checked for the symptoms of oral cancer. A detailed examination of your oral cavity by an experienced dentist, once in a while, is a good measure for the early detection of cancer.
Ageing also has its effects on the symmetry of teeth. As we grow old, our teeth also shift slightly their place. If you are noticing that you need more flossing to remove the trapped food particles or a crooked tooth has started to look more evident, then you might be suffering from the problem of dental crowding.
Dental crowding is not just bad for your smile and facial aesthetics. It is also detrimental due to these reasons:
- Crowded teeth are difficult to clean and we all know unhygienic oral cavities are a nursery for periodontal diseases.
- Misaligned teeth can also instigate the process of tooth erosion.
In case of dental crowding, services of a dentist with the specialization of Orthodontistry can help you out. With the assistance of denture fixtures such as braces, retainers and spacers, you can restore the natural alignment of your teeth.
Maintaining good daily teeth cleaning routine and regular visits to an experienced dentist are important at any point of age.