We, humans, have historically looked at aging from a negative point of view. Sure, we gain wisdom alongside those gray hairs, but there may seem to be far more disadvantages than advantages. For the patients who visit our St. Helens general and cosmetic dentistry office, aging doesn’t have to be something that adversely affects the smile. Through personal care and recognition of needs, we help adults of all ages preserve healthy teeth and gums.
Consequences of Oral Disease
We all know that a cavity can be painful. We also know that cavities might lead to the need for a root canal if we don’t get them treated right away. These are common stressors. But there’s more. Oral conditions like frequent tooth decay and gum disease do a lot more than cause localized pain and bad breath. Here’s what research suggests:
- Oral disease is a bacteria problem, and bacteria can travel. More than one study has identified the presence of bacteria in the arteries of the heart. Not just any bacteria, though, the same bacteria that is found in diseased gums. Now, many doctors look at gum health as a biomarker to cardiovascular health.
- Bacteria may also reach the lungs, according to studies. When this happens, the risk for infection such as pneumonia increases.
- Diabetes and gum disease are two conditions that tend to go hand in hand. This is because diabetes stresses the immune system and incites systemic inflammation. These two factors are involved in gum disease. Furthermore, some studies suggest that gum disease can have an adverse effect on blood sugar regulation.
Tips for Prolonged Oral Health
There are times in life when we need to look beyond the recommendation for brushing and flossing. We realize that, for older adults, this general standard just won’t do. The goal in personal dentistry often revolves around how we can make daily oral care more efficient.
- Switch to an electric toothbrush or sonic toothbrush.
- Talk with your dentist about using a Water Pik or flossing tool.
- Clean dentures daily. Talk with your dentist about the best technique for denture care to prevent subtle scratches in which bacteria may collect.
- Sip water throughout the day to combat dry mouth associated with medication or hormone changes.