7 Good Reasons To Keep Up With Dental Care As You Get Older

Posted on: 10 April 2017

You might be inclined to think your teeth aren't going to change much, now that you're older, but you actually have some very important reasons to keep getting annual checkups with a dentist. Just because you're not a kid anymore doesn't mean you're in the clear by any means.

1. You Can Still Get Cavities

Even if you're not constantly munching on sweet treats the way kids often do, you're still at risk for developing tooth decay, especially around the roots of your teeth, which tend to soften and become more vulnerable as you age. Also, areas around existing cavities might be prone to further decay. Since there's no age limit on decay and you want to hold onto your real teeth for as long as possible—forever if you can—having them checked regularly is definitely in your best interest.

2. Your Dentist Can Spot Oral Cancer Early

Oral cancer isn't always caused by smoking, so even if you don't light up, you're still facing risks. This type of cancer can attack your lips, tongue, and gums, but dentists are experienced detectors, and, when spotted early enough, survival statistics go way up. The trained eyes of the dentist will know if an odd sore somewhere in your mouth is something that will go away on its own or if it is something you need to have investigated right away.

3. Gum Disease Could Become A Problem For You

Don't brush off bleeding as a natural part of the aging process, as it might be an indicator of gingivitis. If your gums don't seem strong and healthy, such as if they're swollen or discolored or if they bleed easily, ask a dentist if you're showing early signs of the gum disease that can lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a condition where gums recede, leaving space for infection to set in.

4. You May Be At Risk For Dry Mouth

There are important elements in your saliva that do a lot of work for you, and if your mouth isn't producing enough of it, this could lead to complications, especially with your teeth. If you've started to take more medications, they could come with the risk of dry mouth; thus, countermeasures are in order. A dentist can offer you a prescription to ease the dry mouth, possibly preventing tooth decay.

5. A Checkup Could Reveal Vitamin Deficiency

Keeping up with bone health is likely an important priority for you now, and if you're deficient in the calcium and/or Vitamin D needed for strong bones, it could show up in your teeth. Preventing bone loss with vitamins may help you keep your natural teeth, too.

6. Shifting Teeth Can Cause Major Issues

Teeth can actually move around in your mouth over the years, creating new discomfort or spaces where food can become lodged. Some areas of teeth may suddenly be hard to reach and clean, possibly leading to decay or gum issues. Believe it or not, a retainer (the same kind typically worn by teenagers) might be of great help if your teeth have moved. However, you'll only find this out if you visit your dentist and ask about it.

7. Your Breath Offers Important Health Clues

Your breath doesn't have to clear a room to give you clues that there's an underlying health issue going on; it may simply change or seem just slightly afoul, and this is something your dentist will pick up on. Mouth odor may be an indication of thyroid issues or even diabetes, making it a very important tool for health evaluation. Your tongue, too, can indicate possible issues in other areas of your body, giving you yet another reason to "open wide" regularly and have a thorough inspection conducted.

Although a dentist is primarily responsible for keeping your teeth and gums healthy, the profession often crosses over into more complicated medical issues that could actually save your life. Keep scheduling those annual dental check ups and don't miss them for anything. Ultimately, there's nothing more important than your good health.