People over 50 today tend to keep their teeth longer than people did in the past. While that is good news, people in this demographic still have to watch out for certain oral health risk factors.
Tooth decay is a major issue affecting people over 50. This age group usually has had fillings in their teeth for several years, and decay can strike around the site of old fillings. People in this demographic also take many different medications to treat a variety of disorders. While these medications can be helpful to your overall health, many of them cause a dry mouth as a side effect. While brushing and flossing is the most important thing you can do to maintain good oral hygiene, saliva plays an important role as well. Saliva prevents demineralization in the teeth and helps wash away harmful bacteria.
Gum disease is also a prevalent condition that affects many people over the age of 50. The leading cause of gum disease is not practicing good oral hygiene. Over time, bad habits like forgetting to brush or missing regular dentist appointments can really add up and affect your oral health. Plaque accumulates if it is not removed, and if it is not removed in a timely manner, plaque turns into tartar. Only a dentist is able to remove tartar. Tartar provides bacteria with the perfect environment to cause serious decay that can lead to gum disease.
Oral cancer is another issue that affects people in this age group. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are leading contributing factors in the development of oral cancer. Your risk of oral cancer increases as you age, especially if you practice those bad habits.