As we age, some changes inevitably happen with our teeth. Aging brings out a variety of oral health concerns, but with consistent and proper care, many people can maintain their smiles for life. A good, healthy smile starts with oral hygiene, but there are more ways that your oral health can be taken care of, and that’s through visiting your dentist to address your health concerns. But often, one of the biggest mistakes often made is avoiding our dentists or being negligent with our oral health. Here’s why we emphasize the importance of maintaining our oral health and what you can do to take care of it.
What Happens To Your Health While Aging
While there’s no presently available way to eliminate all factors involved with aging, many of the age-related concerns we face with our oral health can be avoided. Although our oral health does decline as we get older, one of the problems faced by seniors and receiving oral care is the lack of access to essential resources, including information about dental treatment options for seniors. Leaving poor oral health in place can only worsen the conditions faced and create long-term problems that can impact your quality of life.
However, there are key changes that occur as we age that partake greatly in our oral health and how oral health conditions form. These changes include:
- Cellular Oxidative Stress: Cellular oxidative stress refers to the process of cells dying, which is the key process involved with aging. This process affects the functions of tissues, organs, and all other areas of the body and is referred to as the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants within the body. Due to this process, the body’s ability to maintain and absorb nutritional value can lead to Vitamin D deficiencies, which impact our oral health.
- Declining Immune Systems: Because of cellular oxidative stress, the immune system’s ability to defend against diseases and bacteria can often result in a higher rate of oral diseases such as cavities and gum diseases.
- Changing Hormonal Levels: As the body ages, hormone levels decline, which can cause the body to respond less quickly to diseases and bacteria, resulting in declining oral health. These problems can include osteoporosis and inflammation of the surrounding tissues.
Why Seniors Should Care About Their Oral Health
Many of these issues commonly contribute to poor enamel strength, tooth decay, and other health problems. Alongside this, factors such as dementia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and poor nutrition can affect your ability to engage and interact with your oral health. But through receiving dental care, many of these problems can be treated and managed. Finding resources for treatments such as bridges, dental implants, and cosmetic bonding procedures can help address concerns you experience while aging, and if you struggle to find ways to treat your oral health, speaking with your primary dentist can be helpful as they can provide payment alternatives and financing plans to give you the treatments you need. For more information, contact your dental provider to learn more about how to care for your oral health.