There are plenty of perks to becoming older, but age is also accompanied by aches, pains, and sometimes oral health problems. Baby boomers are finding out that being healthy and living longer means plenty more opportunity for dental issues to arise.
Even if you’ve been the perfect patient, dutifully visiting your dentist every six months for cleanings and exams, your teeth and gums can still begin to show wear and tear. Age-related dental issues are far from unexpected. It’s normal to experience things like tooth loss, yellow or stained teeth, receding gums, dry mouth, and broken or chipped teeth.
What Causes Oral Health Issues in Baby Boomers
Age-related illnesses can impact the quality of your teeth and gums. Medications or antibiotics could cause stains on your teeth. And even if you’ve had a clean bill of health up to this point, significant oral health changes could indicate that you have an undiagnosed illness with symptoms presenting in your mouth.
Chronic diseases that require the use of medication can lead to decreased saliva production which means a prevalence of dry mouth and bad breath. Because saliva has such an important role in maintaining the health of your mouth by flushing away bacteria and food particles, the lack of saliva is a major contributor to tooth decay and cavities.
Perfect Teeth Do Not Mean Perfect Oral Health
Some baby boomers have been able to retain beautiful, straight teeth thanks to orthodontics and good oral health habits. But many of these people are now suffering with poor gums, including adult root cavities caused by vigorous brushing that pushes back the gums and exposes the base of the teeth.
Hard tooth scrubbing does not mean a better tooth cleaning. The right kind of toothbrush, a gentle and effective cleaning technique, and daily flossing – combined with regular professional cleanings – are all measures that help contribute to healthy gums.
A white smile doesn’t always mean that there aren’t underlying problems either. Tooth sensitivity issues are also an issue for the aging population because the tooth enamel is wearing out leading to gums that are painfully sensitive to heat, cold, and sweetness. A diet high in sugar and acids contributes to the deterioration of enamel as well.
Cosmetic Dentistry: A Boon for Baby Boomers
We thankfully no longer live in a generation where pulling a tooth is the one and only solution to every oral health woe. Cosmetic dentistry options allow for the reversal and repair of oral health problems whether they are full-blown or just starting to appear.
The thing to accept, first and foremost, is that your teeth require just as much TLC as the rest of your body. You get those regular colonoscopies, the full-body scans, the cancer screenings. Taking the time to visit a dentist and address any underlying or obvious dental problems is the first step to an even more fulfilling middle age.
Dissatisfied with your yellow or gray teeth? In-office or at-home teeth whitening are fast, effective options to beautify your smile. Porcelain veneers and Cerinate lumineers are popular and natural-looking repairs for broken or chipped teeth (and for the teeth that are unlikely to respond to even the strongest whitening treatment). Dealing with missing teeth or fearing the stigma of dentures? Dental implants are the smile makeover of the present, offering a permanent alternative to missing teeth without adhesives.
You’re never too old to spruce up your appearance, and improve your health. And the beauty of modern methods also means you can take advantage of sedation dentistry so that multiple procedures can be carried out at one time. Contact Dr. Michael J. Wei in his Manhattan cosmetic dentistry office to schedule your complimentary smile design consultation. Here’s to you and your good health!