As we age, there are some dental concerns that tend to become more prevalent. It often surprises adults when they are diagnosed with dental decay, as they tend to categorize cavities as “kid’s stuff.” Adults can get dental decay for all the common reasons such as: sugary and starchy foods, poor oral hygiene, and frequent snacking. Yet, there are a few reasons for dental decay that are specific to adults, and they are as follows:
- Dry mouth- Many times adults are taking medications that are good for them, yet can cause dry mouth. There are also medical conditions that result in dry mouth. Saliva plays an important role in defending against decay. Our saliva not only provides mechanical cleansing of the teeth, it also acts as a microscopic fighter against bacteria. The enzymes found in your saliva actually work in defense against decay causing bacteria. There are treatments to help with dry mouth, and as your dental team, we want to help you overcome the adversities of dry mouth.
- Wear and tear- As we age, we may have more dental restorations or appliances in our mouths. These older fillings, crowns, partials and the like, may wear and break down over time. When older dental restorations break down, they form little cracks and fissures that become a perfect host for decay causing bacteria. Regular cleanings and checkups, along with x-rays, enables your dental team to discover smaller issues before they become bigger ones.
- Heartburn- Heartburn is typically an adult condition that not only causes discomfort, it can also cause dental decay. As acids from the stomach are introduced into the mouth, they can break down the enamel and reduce the flow of saliva, thus resulting in decay. Heartburn can be a chronic condition, so as your dental team, we recognize how important it is to address this condition early in hopes of thwarting dental damage.
Periodontal disease, typically called “gum disease,” is an issue that evokes fear at the mere mention of the name. The truth of periodontal disease is, no one needs to fear it. The reason being is, no matter if every adult in your genetic line has lost their teeth to “gum disease,” you are not destined to. You are in the driver’s seat when it comes to perio-disease.
Simply put, perio-disease happens when anaerobic bacteria are introduced, but not removed, in, around and under your gums. This type bacteria causes inflammation that can eventually progress to a disease state. Vehicles for introducing these disease-causing bacteria are: unremoved foods, plaque, tarter and other debris. The key word in this equation is “un-removed!” The good news is that removal of disease-causing bacteria is as simple as 1,2,3!
- Brush- Thoroughly brush teeth and gums twice a day.
- Floss- Floss twice a day, especially before bed. Floss removes debris in-between your teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach.
- Mouth Rinse- Use an ADA approved antiseptic mouthwash that is in the business of killing germs, not just masking bad breath.
With regular cleanings, x-rays and dental checkups, our dental team desires to partner with you to keep adult decay and periodontal disease at bay.