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5 Issues Seniors Face With Their Oral Health

As your family dentist in Beaverton, our staff at Barrett Family Dental strives to keep our patients looking and feeling their best for a lifetime. While many people have the notion that growing older means facing an uncertain future in regards to their oral health, the truth is that everybody can enjoy quality oral health well into their golden years.

Even though quality oral health remains a real possibility later in life doesn’t mean that seniors don’t have more to worry about when it comes to maintaining and protecting their teeth and gums. In your 60s there are a few common dental issues that you’re more than likely going to face. Fortunately, with the help of Dr. Barrett, they’re fairly easy to treat.

Tooth Decay

Your teeth can still develop cavities no matter what your age. They’ll develop on the surface of your teeth, which might not have been a problem before, and you can also get them around older fillings and at the roots of teeth.

Fortunately, many of the problems caused by cavities can be fixed with fluoride. Regularly brushing with a tooth paste containing fluoride and using a daily rinse that also contains fluoride can greatly help to lower your risk of decay. If you need additional protection, Dr. Barrett can include fluoride treatment as part of your next appointment.

Dry Mouth

If your mouth fails to adequately produce enough saliva, the long-term health of your teeth could be at risk. Saliva contains phosphate and calcium which helps to prevent the demineralization of your teeth. You’ll know when you’re experiencing dry mouth because you’ll develop a sticky feeling in your mouth, have difficulty swallowing, you might even suffer from dry throat and cracked lips. You might begin to notice you suffer from persistent bad breath and a slight metallic taste.

In most cases, dry mouth is a side effect of taking certain over-the-counter and prescription medications. As we age, the odds of us taking more these types of medications increases, so be sure to talk with your doctor about whether dry mouth is a potential side effect for any medication you’re prescribed.

Dry mouth can also be caused by smoking, radiation treatments for cancer, and salivary gland problems.

If you suffer from persistent dry mouth, consult with Dr. Barrett about the potential causes of your condition. You can also make sure to stay fully hydrated and to chew sugar-free gum to help increase saliva production.

Gum Disease

If you suffer from swollen, red or bleeding gums you could have a potentially serious oral health condition known as gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. If you allow gingivitis to go untreated, the disease could progress into the far more dangerous periodontal disease. The leading cause of permanent tooth loss in adults, periodontal disease causes your gums to pull away from the base of your teeth. This exposes the delicate roots of your teeth to harmful bacteria that can destroy supporting bone and gum tissue that holds your teeth into position.

To prevent the development of gum disease, you need to schedule regular dental appointments and checkups with Dr. Barrett. Regular exams will allow Dr. Barrett to spot the signs of disease early on while the condition is still easily treatable.

Oral Cancer

While the number of oral cancer cases diagnosed each year ranks significantly behind other forms of the disease, the death rate from oral cancer actually ranks higher than lung and prostate cancer. That’s because most patients fail to receive an oral cancer diagnoses until well after the disease has had the opportunity to spread throughout the body.

To lower your risk of oral cancer, you need to receive regular oral cancer screenings from your dentist. During your visit, Dr. Barrett with inspect the soft tissues in your mouth, throat and jaw. These screenings can make a lifesaving difference as the earlier any form of cancer is spotted the higher your chance of a recovery.

Tooth Crowding

Our teeth begin to slowly shift as we grow older which creates an opportunity for them to overlap each other. The reason why this is a problem isn’t simply limited to the cosmetic difference shifting will create, it will also make it more difficult to properly clean your teeth while brushing. Misaligned teeth also contribute to tooth erosion or you can damage the supporting tissue and bone, which can increase your risk of periodontal diseases.

By scheduling regular with your family dentist in Beaverton, Dr. Barrett can monitor your teeth for any changes. If crowding becomes an issue, Dr. Barrett will be able to advise you on a treatment course that can help correct this issue before a more serious problem can develop

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