It is no secret that the human body changes with age. As with many of our organ systems, the oral cavity tends to decline as we get older. But an aging body shouldn’t mean losing all your teeth!
So, what really happens to our teeth as we age?
The reason our teeth seem to get looser and weaker with age can be caused by:
- Health conditions – Hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, acid reflux, etc. These conditions affect the way our body performs and can contribute to the deterioration of our teeth and the supporting structures.
- Use of certain medications – Over-the-counter and prescription medications can play a role in affecting the health of your teeth. A common side effect of many medications is dryness of the mouth. If not addressed, this can lead to further issues like cavities and even fungal infections.
- Diminished salivary flow – As we age many of our systems can begin slowing down, our salivary glands included. Saliva plays a very important role in keeping our mouths healthy by providing the nutrients needed by our teeth and gums. So, less salivary production can mean less protection.
- Physical limitations – As we age, taking care of our teeth may become more difficult to do if the right tools are not used. Sometimes we end up dealing with dexterity issues and fatigue which can prevent us from achieving the right oral care routine. This can create issues like tartar build-up which can lead to compromising the health of our teeth, gums and ultimately lead to cavities, gum recession and eventually bone loss.
However, all these issues can be managed to guarantee that your oral cavity stays healthy by:
- Tending to medical conditions with the help of your primary care doctor and advising your dental care team of such conditions and any medications you are using
- Keeping up with regular dental visits and discussing treatment options with your dental professional
- Searching for products with the help of your dental care team to help deal with issues like dry mouth, tartar build-up and cavity protection
Please remember that there can also be other reasons for your teeth feeling loose so you should consult with your dental and medical care providers regarding these concerns.
As always, keep smiling!