Debbie Lewis an aspiring writer, mother, and yoga enthusiast. She loves to write about all different topics, as she feels it helps her learn new things. If you’d like her to write for you, you can connect with her on G+
Most of us know that one of the best ways to take care of our teeth and gums is to brush and floss regularly. However, regular dental care is just as important to maintaining good oral health and hygiene, especially in those who are over 50. With so many different problems that can occur in the mouth, seeing the dentist twice a year is a necessity.
Oral Cancer The risk of oral cancer doubles as you get older, so a regular screening for this disease is a must. If your dentist can catch it early and you can start treatment immediately, the prognosis is much better for surviving and beating it. The biggest risk factors for oral cancer are tobacco use and alcohol consumption. Even if you have never used alcohol or tobacco, you should still have regular screenings.
As you age, your teeth can decay in places where they wouldn’t have in earlier years. If you have old fillings or other dental work, cavities can form around these when the root softens and becomes more exposed. A dentist can look for potential areas of decay and either remove and
replace old fillings or crowns to lessen the risk, or fill cavities that are present in your teeth. Increasing fluoride can also help strengthen teeth, and a dentist can prescribe this to you.
Another side effect of aging is teeth shifting into different positions. You could notice that food gets stuck in your teeth more often or in places it never got stuck before. Flossing could also become more difficult when teeth get too close together. A dentist can assess the shifting of your teeth and determine if you need orthodontic care to fix the problem. Even if you don’t need a retainer, you should see the dentist for regular teeth cleanings since food can get trapped in smaller spaces and increase the risk of cavities.
If you notice redness or bleeding in your gums, you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Without proper treatment, this can turn into gum disease that leads to infection of the gums and even teeth loss. Flossing and regular teeth cleanings can help prevent gingivitis. Your dentist can also give you tips on how to treat and minimize symptoms of gingivitis if you already have it.
Gum recession is common in older patients, which can lead to a number of other problems. One of these is root decay, which occurs when your roots are exposed to acids in food and drinks. Your roots don’t have a protective enamel layer like your teeth, so exposure to chemicals can cause them to decay. Not only is this a very painful condition, but it can lead to necessary root canals and other procedures.
Even if you wear dentures, which nearly 25 percent of people over age 65 do, you should still see a dentist for checkups. Dentists also manage and treat conditions of the gums, so you need to make sure that yours are healthy. Your dentist can also help with ill-fitting dentures, a problem that can cause pain and swelling while you wear them and after you remove them. As your gums change and your jawbone shifts, you will need to continue to see the dentist so he or she can ensure a proper fit and reduce the risk of callusing of the gums.
A regular visit to the dentist makes it easier to prevent dental problems, but more than 30 percent of Americans don’t have dental insurance. Even those who do complain that the coverage is minimal and they end up paying most of the costs out-of-pocket. Some dentists offer payment plans for fillings, crowns, and other procedures, but even regular cleanings twice a year can be a burden for those struggling financially. You should search around for affordable, inclusive dental insurance. Also make sure you talk to your dentist about discounts and other options so you can afford to get the care you need and protect your teeth.
Even with good at-home dental care, a trip to the dentist is a necessity to keep your mouth as healthy as possible when you are 50 and older.