As we get older, some changes in our body become a little more obvious than others. Your joints might ache or you might need put your glasses on to read. Changes that could be a little less obvious are the ones in our mouths. The mouth is the gateway to health, which means these changes could affect your overall health. As we get older, it becomes even more important to keep up with preventative care. Some of the ways that our mouths can change as we age: a decrease in saliva, enamel erosion, and an increased risk for oral cancer.
Many people take more medication as they get older, and dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications. Many adults’ mouths also tend to dry out naturally as they age. Saliva is important to your oral health as it helps rinse away bacteria and leftover food particles. When the soft tissue of your mouth becomes dry, it can become more susceptible to infection. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help combat dry mouth.
Over the years, chewing, drinking, and grinding can make a big impact on the surface of your teeth. In addition to the daily wear and tear, you may have encountered breakages, chips, and cavities throughout your life. The enamel, the protective outer layer of our teeth, begins to wear down and erode naturally. It is important to be aware of the habits that contribute to the erosion; so that you can be proactive in protecting your teeth. Habits like chewing ice, grinding your teeth, and the frequent consumption acidic foods and beverages can all speed up the erosion of enamel.
The overall risk for getting any form of cancer increases as we get older. The majority of people diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 55. Therefore the older we get, the more important oral cancer screenings can be. Screenings can help detect signs of oral cancer early enough for early treatment. Oral cancer is deadly, but treatable when caught early. If you notice any sores, bumps, or lesions in your mouth, be sure to mention it to your dentist.
Getting older can affect your oral health. To schedule a consultation with Austin Prosthodontics in Austin, TX, call 512-250-9444. We also proudly welcome patients from Cedar Park, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander, and all surrounding Texas communities.