Is aging causing your mouth to act in funky ways?
SUMMARY: With age comes wisdom, but also oral health care issues - learn how to battle these problems.
Posted: January 21, 2013
As we age, ailments can get worse and we experience more everyday aches and pains. When it comes to our mouths, if regular oral health care isn't a top priority, it is likely that unwanted problems are going to pop up throughout the years. From bad breath to gum disease, our mouths take a beating throughout the years from acidic foods and drinks, sugar and sticky foods. But if you become aware of your risks and what you can do to prevent them, you can have a healthy smile and fresh breath for many more years.
Why is my mouth so dry?
Many seniors - and many middle aged people - fall victim to dry mouth for many reasons. A lot of times, medication that one is taking is the biggest culprit of this. Some of the chemicals in common over-the-counter and prescription drugs cause dry mouth, which makes it very challenging for people to get rid of this uncomfortable condition.
Many people also experience dry mouth as a direct symptom of a disease such as Sjogren's Syndrome. This disorder causes the mouth and eyes to dry out, as well as the nose, throat and skin. It's an autoimmune disease that mistakenly attacks glands in the body that produce tears and saliva. Sjogren's typically affects women - nine out of 10 cases are women - and most people are over the age of 40. It's not entirely certain why some people experience this disease and others don't, but frequently drinking water and over-the-counter medications can often help. Using oral health care products that help with dry mouth may decrease symptoms of this disease.
My breath seems to get worse
If you're noticing that your breath is getting worse over the years, it's very possible that the everyday wear and tear on your mouth is causing this. When you get older, your sight may not be as good and you may not be able to clean your teeth as well. It may be helpful to invest in a high quality electronic toothbrush that is going to reach plaque and bacteria much better than a traditional toothbrush. It's also a good idea to double check the ingredients of your toothpaste and mouthwash. If you notice there is alcohol in your mouthwash or sodium lauryl sulfate in your toothpaste - ditch ‘em! These two ingredients can dry out your mouth, and inevitably cause bad breath. Also, make sure to always drink plenty of water because this helps rinse the mouth of yucky bacteria that stink up your mouth.
I don't floss because it makes my gums bleed
If this is your excuse for not flossing - it's not a good one. If your gums are bleeding when you're brushing or flossing, this may mean that you have periodontal disease. More commonly known as gum disease, this illness affects a large number of people because they aren't taking proper care of their mouths. It may hurt a little bit, but that's because your gums aren't healthy and the only way to make them healthy is to start flossing more frequently. Keep up with your routine of brushing, flossing and rinsing twice a day and this can remedy gum disease, and eliminate bad breath.
Other diseases and their effects on your mouth
Someone suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure or Parkinson's disease may also be experiencing dry mouth on a regular basis. These issues cause damage to the mouth. It may be helpful to use mouth-wetting lozenges, sugar-free gum that stimulates saliva production and take frequent sips of water throughout the day.