aging adults

5 Oral Health Myths for Aging Adults

aging adultsBloomsburg, Danville, and Lewisburg, PA

Your body changes as you age, whether you like it or not. From wrinkles to graying hair, these changes are unavoidable. And unfortunately, many aging adults experience declining health. But that doesn’t mean that you should give up on maintaining your teeth and gums. You may relate to getting older with bad teeth or tooth loss. But with good oral hygiene, you can keep your teeth and gums in good shape for the rest of your life. Today on the blog, we bust five oral care myths for aging adults because getting older doesn’t have to mean declining oral health.

Myth 1: You lose your teeth the older you get

Tooth loss is more common in aging adults. But that does not mean their tooth loss is due to their age. Instead, it is compounding neglect of their teeth and gums throughout their lifetime. But if you forget to brush your teeth before bed one night, that doesn’t mean you’ll develop a cavity the next day or that you’ll start losing teeth. Instead, oral health outcomes are a result of your consistent habits. It’s like gaining weight. Overeating cake on your birthday or skipping a workout one time isn’t going to make you overweight. Instead, your daily habits attribute to your weight throughout the years. Your teeth are the same. Years of bad oral hygiene habits increase your risk of tooth loss the older you get. Good oral hygiene means brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily, but you should continue these good habits throughout your life.

Myth 2: Your teeth get longer as you age

Have you ever heard the phrase, “A little long in the tooth”? It’s a phrase meaning that someone is getting older, but teeth don’t actually grow longer. Instead, the gums usually recede because of gum disease, which exposes more of the tooth structure. However, you can develop gum disease at any age, although it worsens over time as a result of poor oral hygiene. The good news is that gum disease is not an inevitable part of aging. You can reduce your risk of gum disease with good daily oral hygiene and bi-annual dental cleanings.

Myth 3: Adults don’t get cavities

Cavities develop if you don’t take good care of your teeth by not brushing and flossing daily, eating too much sugar and junk food, and avoiding the dentist. It takes following all recommendations of brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, eating a balanced diet of healthy food, and getting your teeth cleaned twice a year to reduce your risk of cavities. No matter your age, you can protect your teeth against tooth decay by sticking to these recommendations as closely as possible.

Myth 4: Older adults get dry mouth no matter what

Many older adults experience dry mouth, but that doesn’t mean it is a result of getting older. Instead, medications that are most often taken by older adults may cause dry mouth. Unfortunately, dry mouth does increase your risk of cavities and gum disease, although celebrating another birthday does not necessarily mean that chronic dry mouth is inevitable. However, speak with your Bloomsburg dentists if you experience dry mouth. We can offer suggestions to help relieve your condition and protect your oral health.

Myth 5: You can only get oral cancer if you use tobacco

Oral cancer can be devastating because it’s often overlooked and remains undetected until advanced stages. Tobacco users are at a higher risk of developing oral cancer, but like any other type of cancer, everyone has some level of risk. The good news is that you can receive a quick and painless oral cancer screening during your routine dental exam every six months. Between those visits, be mindful of any changes to your oral tissue, like bumps or sores that do not heal or difficulty or pain when swallowing (unrelated to a cold or seasonal illness). Schedule an appointment for an oral cancer screening in Bloomsburg if you experience these changes in your oral health.

Bloomsburg Family Dentists

You can’t stop the natural aging process, but there are certain things that you can do to protect your body and oral health as you age. You can maintain healthy teeth and gums and avoid tooth loss throughout your golden years by adhering to daily oral hygiene and seeing the dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings. If you’d like to learn more about protecting your teeth and gums as you age, contact Hamilton Dental Care by calling (570) 387-0533 or online to schedule an appointment.