They say, life takes a full circle and gets you back from where you started. This is quite true, from a dental perspective at least.
In the growing stages and when you are in your golden years (right around your retirement), your teeth need special care. Several physiological changes take place in your mouth with age, which can add to the risk of dental conditions.
By this age, you probably have had several dental treatments – root canals, fillings, or even dentures. Remember that these are protective till the time they last. Even your tooth filling can get chipped or come off if not cared for properly. Plaque (bacterial layer) can develop on the surface of dentures if not cleaned once or twice in 24 hours.
There are several factors that influence your dental health at this age –
- Your health – The medical condition of your body has an impact on your oral health. Conditions that are known to affect oral health are diabetes, digestive problems such as acid reflux, dry mouth etc. Thus you must take extra care of your dental health in such cases.
- Medications – By this age, many of the senior citizens are on medications, be it painkillers, anti-depressants, or pills for high blood pressure. These medicines affect your oral health in several ways.
- Family – By the time you retire, your family is scattered across places and many of the senior citizens do not have people around to take care of their health. Of all things, oral health is one of the first to get neglected.
- Physical limitations – As you age, you lose some strength in your muscles. Believe it or not, this general weakness can affect your ability to brush thoroughly, leaving some scope for the bacteria to thrive. This is especially true for people suffering from arthritis.
Due to the above mentioned factors, you may experience some these common dental conditions in your 60s.
- Caries (cavities or tooth decay) – Carries are common in people who have crossed their 60s. Not brushing teeth properly can lead to caries in the gaps of teeth, or in the areas where filling has come off. This is where cavities form and often go unnoticed.
- Dry Mouth & its effects – There are several causes of dry mouth (also known as xerostomia), such as aging, medication, smoking etc. Dry mouth means there is less of saliva being produced. Saliva is necessary to keep mouth clean and wash away harmful bacteria. In the absence of this, your mouth creates an ambient condition for bacteria to grow, leading to bad breath.
- Gum diseases – Gingivitis and periodontitis are common gum diseases. You may experience receding gums, which create a gap between the teeth and gums. Bacteria can thrive here leading to various kinds of gum diseases.
- Go for regular dental checkups
- Clean your artificial teeth daily
- Consider using an electric toothbrush to get more strength during brushing
So yes, to answer your question, in your golden years, your teeth need special attention.