Cavities may seem like a distant and unpleasant memory that occurred in your childhood and adolescence, but older adults experience what is known as the second round of cavities. With some simple changes, though, you can reduce your risk for developing cavities.
Why Do Older Adults Have Cavities?
Children develop cavities because they are just learning how to properly brush and floss their teeth. By adulthood, you have mastered the techniques with the guidance of your dentist and hygienist, so why do older adults get cavities? The reason is that certain medications have dry mouth as a side effect. A dry mouth means less saliva to keep food particles, sugars and plaque off of your teeth and gums. Some medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are known to reduce saliva production as well.
How Can I Reduce My Risk for Developing Cavities as an Older Adult?
With a few easy changes, you can reduce the likelihood of developing cavities.
- Speak with your doctor about changing your medications to avoid those that have dry mouth as a side effect.
- Drink more water, and make sure that you always carry water with you.
- Chew sugar-free gum to increase the amount of saliva in your mouth.
- Stop smoking and reduce your intake of alcoholic drinks.
- Use oral sprays that hydrate the mucous membranes of the mouth.
Can My Dentist Help Me Prevent Cavities as an Older Patient?
As you get older, seeing your dentist as recommended becomes more important. The dental exam helps find problems early, and the cleanings remove any excess plaque that has been missed by your brushing and flossing. Your hygienist will recommend ways that you can improve your flossing, such as showing you some of the many new tools that are available for flossing at home. Fluoride gels and varnishes are other ways that your dentist can help you keep your teeth cavity-free for many years.
Learn More About Cavities and Other Oral Health Problems in Older Patients. Contact Gallery 57 Dental.
You can prevent cavities by following our recommendations and seeing your dentist regularly. To learn more about dental exams, minimally-invasive dental implants, treatment for sleep disorders and our other services, contact Gallery 57 Dental today to schedule an appointment. Our office is located on West 57th Street in New York, and you can contact us directly at (212) 246-8700.