As we get older, we tend to experience more health concerns than we did when we were younger. Our dental health is no different. At my Douglasville dental office, we want all of our patients to be aware of some of the most common oral health issues that tend to affect those 50 or older.
Like many oral health problems, gum disease can affect overall health. Research has shown a positive correlation between gum disease and heart disease, diabetes, as well as some cancers. In those over age 50, 30% are affected by gum disease.
Many times we think of cavities and decay as something that affects the younger population when, in fact, anywhere up to 60% of those over 50 have recently had a cavity. Decay can be caused by a variety of things including inadequate dental hygiene, softening of teeth as we age, or even dry mouth.
We already know that dry mouth can lead to decay, but why? When the mouth is dry it means there’s not enough saliva production to rinse away bacteria. Saliva also helps keep teeth from softening thanks to its levels of calcium and phosphate. Dry mouth tends to affect the older population more so because of the increased use of medication. Many medicines’ side effects include dry mouth, so it’s important to tell your dentist everything you take.
The name itself describes how serious this particular concern is, but even more so for those over 50. In fact, the likelihood of developing oral cancer greatly increases in those 50 and older. While 45,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every year, and 8,000 actually die from it, the chance of survival greatly increases if caught early.
All of these common oral health concerns can eventually lead to tooth loss or more serious issues if not treated. To help avoid them, see your Douglasville dentist at least twice a year for regular dental check ups and cleanings.
If you’re concerned about any dental issues at any age, we encourage you to call my Douglasville dental office to schedule an appointment. We’ll discuss your concerns and determine the best treatment options to help you keep your teeth for a long time.
Accepting patients from Douglasville, Lithia Springs, Villa Rica.
Eating gluten-free has been increasing in popularity over the past couple of years. Sometimes this dietary change is due to choice. Other times, it’s out of necessity. Those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance avoid gluten because it makes them incredibly sick. In these individuals, gluten can also cause irreversible tooth damage and other serious oral health concerns.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is used to describe the proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. These proteins act like a glue that allows foods to maintain their shape. Many foods contain gluten, even some that may be surprising like some condiments.
What Oral Health Problems Does Gluten Cause in Patients with Celiac Disease?
When someone who is hypersensitive to gluten is exposed to it, they can become very sick. Usually symptoms of celiac disease are found in the gastrointestinal tract, but all parts of the digestive system, including the mouth, can be affected.
Gluten ingestion by those with an intolerance actually blocks the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals. This includes Vitamin D. Without this nutrient, tooth enamel isn’t protected and begins to erode. In fact, 85% of those with celiac disease have enamel damage. Without the protection of enamel, teeth are left exposed to decay and other oral health problems. But that’s not all. For these individuals, consuming gluten may also cause:
- Canker sores
- Painful, red, swollen gums
- Tooth discoloration
- And pitted teeth
It’s important to note that gluten itself doesn’t affect individuals without celiac disease the same way it does those who do have it. Seek medical advice before making any significant changes to your diet.
At my Douglasville dental office, we support any diet that makes you feel healthy, including if you choose to eat gluten-free. For our patients that do have celiac disease, we encourage you to avoid gluten, not only for your oral health, but for your overall health as well.
If your teeth have suffered enamel loss or you’re at risk for losing your teeth, whether caused by celiac disease or not, there are ways to help. Schedule a visit with your dentist in Douglasville to discuss your options, which may include dental implants, restorative dentistry options, or cosmetic dentistry treatment.
Accepting patients from Douglasville, Lithia Springs, Villa Rica and beyond.