As you age you may notice that you experience continuing, new or different health issues. And while you are taking steps to maintain good overall health, don’t forget to take a look at your oral health. As you age, your dental health may undergo some changes, too. Be aware of these five common dental problems that often affect today’s seniors.

  1. Tooth Decay

Many people think that tooth decay (cavities) are an issue that only the children and the young face, but that’s just not true. Adults and seniors can still develop cavities. These cavities can, in turn, lead to infections and tooth loss if not treated. Regular visits to the dentist can go a long way to prevent tooth decay along with proper at-home dental care.

  1. Gum Disease

Here’s a fact for you: 70.1% of adults age 65 and over suffer from one of the stages of gum disease. Gum disease, caused by the bacteria in plaque, causes the gums to be red, swollen, and bleed while brushing. If left untreated, gum disease can cause your gums to recede, eventually leading to tooth loss. But gum disease is preventable and reversible when treated in the early stages. Seniors should look for oral care products that contain CoQ10, Vitamin C, and xylitol which are all proven to help prevent and treat gum disease.

  1. Dry Mouth

Did you know that your saliva is a natural protector against bacteria in your mouth? Unfortunately, as you age, you may produce less saliva and in turn, see an increase in bacteria in your mouth. This may be due to medications and/or illnesses. If you notice that you seem to have less saliva, speak with your medical and dental professionals. Sometimes medications can be adjusted to or changed to help with your saliva production.

  1. Receding Gums

This is a common condition found in adults over the age of 40. While receding gums can simply be a sign of aging, often there is an underlying condition.  Often this is due to periodontal disease (gum disease) and while you may not experience any pain, there are serious consequences if left untreated. Good daily oral hygiene practices are the primary form of preventing this.

  1. Oral Cancer

The average age of someone identified with oral cancer is age 62. These cancers of the mouth, tongue, and throat are often diagnosed by dental professionals who are trained on what the signs and symptoms of oral cancer look like. Remember to schedule regular dental visits as a way of screening for oral cancers.

Taking care of your teeth as you age is just as important as monitoring your blood pressure or maintaining good cholesterol. Be sure to take practice good dental hygiene at home and schedule regular dental checkups to make sure you are doing all you can for your smile.