Cavities: Not Just For Kids
- Posted on: May 15 2018
Some of your earliest memories about the dentist are about the first time that you had an exam and cleaning, and you also remember your first cavity. Over the course of your childhood and adolescence, you probably couldn’t wait until that stage of your dental history was far behind you. As an adult, you received a clean bill of health year after year, and you breathed a sigh of relief when the dentist told you, “No cavities.” Cavities are common in children, but they also occur frequently in adults over 65 years old. Before you panic, we have some tips for how to avoid repeating those cavities from your childhood.
Cavities: A Refresher Course
Let’s begin with a brief refresher course on what causes cavities. As you know, brushing, flossing and routine dental cleanings are important to keep your teeth and gums free of bacteria, sugars and other substances. Your saliva helps to rinse these substances off of your teeth, but plaque can develop in areas that are hard to reach. Over time, the plaque damages the enamel of your tooth and creates a hole or tunnel. This is a cavity.
Cavities in Older Adults
Any situation that diminishes the amount of saliva in your mouth increases your risk for cavities. We refer to this as dry mouth. Have you noticed that your mouth feels drier, even when you drink water? Two reasons that men and women over 65 develop dry mouth are medications and medical conditions. Take a look at the side effects listed on your blood pressure, cholesterol and other medications. Do you see dry mouth listed? Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other medical conditions cause dry mouth, and people who have these conditions are at an even higher risk for cavities because they may not be able to brush and floss properly.
Wait! There’s Still Hope!
With a few simple steps, you can protect your teeth from developing cavities when you are over 65 years old.
- Keep those appointments. Dental cleanings are still the best way to prevent cavities.
- Drink more water even when you are not thirsty and keep a container of water with you at all times.
- Speak with your dental hygienist about ways that you can improve your brushing and flossing habits.
- Use mouth sprays that are intended to increase moisture in the mouth. Carry a supply of sugar-free gum and lozenges. These increase saliva production.
- Talk to your physician about alternative medications.
- Ask your dentist to apply a fluoride gel or varnish to teeth that are vulnerable to developing cavities.
Learn More About Ways to Prevent Cavities. Contact Deeter Dental Group.
To learn more about dental exams, cleanings, teeth whitening, dental implants and our other services for men and women over 65, contact Deeter Dental Group today to schedule an appointment. You can contact our office in Bismarck at (701) 222-1800.