As we get older there are a number of things that don’t really affect us anymore. In fact we don’t even consider them in our day-to-day lives. Long gone and nearly forgotten are the days of skinned knees and grass stained jeans, acne and being scared of what’s under the bed. For most grownups, especially older adults, cavities are thought to be a dental problem that doesn’t happen anymore. However, the risk for cavities actually increases as we get older.
The rise in cavities for older patients can be attributed to the fact that more and more people are keeping more of their teeth. Only 50 years ago, the majority of adults aged 65 and older lost all of their own teeth and required dentures. Today, the studies show that only 15% of people ages 65-74 are toothless. However, just because more people are keeping their teeth, doesn’t mean they are keeping them healthy. 20% of people over 65 have untreated cavities.
Some key factors that play into this increase in cavities are:
- Dry mouth: A typical side effect of many medications for older adults is “dry mouth”. Since saliva serves as a natural cleaner with cavity protecting capabilities, having a lack of it allows cavities to happen more often.
- Lack of care: As people age and lose partial, if not entire, dental coverage, they stop seeing a dentist for regular visits.
- Recessed gums: As we age, and our gums recede, decay can more easily reach the roots of our teeth.
So while many of the silly and inconvenient things from our youth stay in the past, dental health, specifically cavities, can still be a major oral concern, no matter how we old get. If you are due for a checkup or think you may have a cavity, or any other dental need, visit Baton Rouge’s premier relaxing, soothing dental spa destination, The Smile Spa. To make an appointment, click here.