Good health is obviously essential if you’d like to reach a ripe old age, but many people when considering health conditions that could shorten their life, think about cancer or heart disease or any of the other major health issues that can decrease your lifespan. Very few people consider dental health in this equation. However tooth loss can affect your ability to chew food properly, resulting in poorer nutrition, weakening your immune system. The main cause of tooth loss is due to periodontal disease, and infectious condition that affects the gums and which can have a huge impact on your dental health as well as your general health.
Aging and Dental Health
Even though teeth are meant to last a lifetime, they can become more brittle or will wear down with age. Tooth decay is also a major problem. When the adult teeth first erupt, they are covered with a hard outer layer of enamel, protecting the softer layer of dentin that is just underneath. Right in the middle of the tooth is the pulp, containing the nerves and blood vessels to the tooth. Conditions such as tooth grinding and clenching and acid erosion can all wear down and damage the enamel, increasing the risk of decay which would eventually expose the pulp to bacteria. The pulp also begins to shrink with age as the number of blood vessels in the tooth gradually declines, increasing the overall fragility of the tooth.
Saliva and How It Protects Your Teeth
Saliva or a lack of it is another problem as this is an amazing substance that has antimicrobial factors, protecting your mouth from bacteria, viruses and fungi. You need a certain amount of saliva to help neutralize acid in the mouth, reducing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. A healthy person produces around one liter of saliva every day but this declines with age. As we age we are more likely to need medications that can increase the risk of a dry mouth. This makes chewing and swallowing trickier and a dry mouth enables bacteria to thrive.
Periodontal Disease and Tooth Loss
Periodontal disease can be a major issue for our dental health as we age and many people will lose teeth to this condition. This is upsetting enough, but periodontal or gum disease has also been associated to many serious health conditions, not least heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. If you do lose teeth, then it’s always important to try to replace them as soon as possible. While dentures may still be a popular solution they are far from ideal. They can often be uncomfortable to wear, particularly after a few years as the jawbone gradually changes shape.
Your Dental Health Doesn’t Have to Decline with Age
Even though aging is inevitable it doesn’t have to impact your dental health. Proper dental care at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center will help keep your teeth and gums healthy no matter what your age. If you do suffer tooth loss then we can treat the reason for that loss and will recommend the most suitable way to replace them. These days we frequently suggest dental implants as these can often provide the most secure and long-lasting way to replace any missing teeth to secure loose dentures or even replace them completely with full arch bridges.
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