Common Dental Issues You May Experience As You Age

Your body goes through a great many changes as you start to age, many of which are very obvious and some that are not so obvious. For instance, you’ll quickly notice that you probably have to take things a little slower, because your actions and reactions simply aren’t as crisp as they were when you were younger.

One category of changes to your body that you might not think about immediately are those related to your oral health. It’s very possible that the aging process will bring on a loss of bone mass, higher incidence of tooth decay, and possibly a dry mouth situation. For further information, visit, where you’ll find everything you need to educate yourself.

In this article, we’ll discuss these prominent changes to your oral health, and discuss some steps you might want to take in order to alleviate any discomfort or issues associated with the changes.

Dry mouth

Dry mouth is a situation that can be quite uncomfortable for a person, but it can also lead to more cavities and a greater incidence of tooth decay. For the most part, dry mouth is caused because there is less saliva being secreted by your salivary glands, and saliva is what keeps the mouth lubricated.

You may notice that it’s more difficult to handle really chewy foods without drinking something, or you might wake up in the middle of the night with dry lips and a parched throat. Since there isn’t as much saliva available in your mouth to coat your teeth with protective bacteria, it’s much more likely that cavities will form, since your teeth are left relatively unprotected.

You may find yourself reaching for the water bottle at various points throughout the day, because your mouth is simply uncomfortably dry and that makes swallowing, speaking, and eating much more difficult. There are several ways you can address a dry mouth situation, beginning with drinking more fluids throughout the day. Dentists from Lux Dental Clinic recommend maintaining a consistent oral hygiene routine, including brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily, as it plays a significant role in achieving overall health.

Your dentist may recommend switching your mouthwash to something less harsh, something that does not dry out your mouth so badly. There are also some supplements you can take which will stimulate the salivary glands, so that the dry mouth situation is easier to manage and less bothersome throughout the day and on into the sleeping hours.

More cavities

As everyone knows, your teeth are comprised of a number of different layers of material. The top layer of your teeth is called the enamel, and as it begins to wear down with age, it’s likely that a person will go through symptoms such as sensitivity to hot or cold items. For instance, ice cream, cold drinks, or hot soups might be all it takes to trigger an episode of sensitivity in your teeth, and to cause you to wince in discomfort.

You might also experience the effects of having more brittle teeth, where they are more prone to chips or cracks when impacting some solid object. Dentists will often recommend a special kind of toothpaste for individuals who have sensitive teeth. If brittle teeth are damaged by chipping or cracking, that will call for something a little more serious.

A cosmetic dentist might overlay the chip with a veneer that’s colored to match the rest of your teeth. There are a great many options for teeth that become damaged through tooth decay. If the degree of decay is severe enough, it could be that dental implants are the best option to restore normalcy to your mouth.

The great thing about dental implants is that they are the most natural way to replace a tooth, and they will never slip around in your mouth. Because a dental implant is anchored right to your jaw bone and actually becomes part of it, you’ll never have to worry about loose teeth or having your implant shift around in your mouth.

There are of course, other options for replacing teeth that have become badly decayed, for instance, bridges and dentures. However, in terms of providing the most natural solution to tooth loss, your best option will almost always be having a dental implant installed.

Loss of bone mass

If you’ve lost some teeth in your mouth and have not replaced them fully, you may experience a significant level of bone mass loss in your gums. When that happens, it can cause your face to have a sunken appearance that makes you look older and less like yourself. People who lose bone mass will have a more difficult time having an implant installed, because the jawbone is where an implant must be anchored to provide a foundation for the cap which will be emplaced.

However, even if you have lost some amount of jaw bone mass, it might still be possible to undergo a dental implant, since you can have bone grafted onto your existing jawbone to make up for the loss. When there are no teeth in a certain section, the jawbone tends to recede because there is no stimulation from the teeth, and with no stimulation, the jawbone tends to retract and recede.

To prevent any further bone loss, your dentist might possibly recommend an approach which makes use of either full dentures or partial dentures. This will provide the stimulation needed by your jawbone to stop bone loss and to satisfy your chewing and speaking functions.

Partial dentures might be indicated for people who have a few teeth missing but require some support. Full dentures are best installed in cases where people have lost all their teeth and need a full replacement option.

There are more exotic possibilities available as well, for instance all-on-four dental implants that can replace an entire arch of upper or lower teeth with just four implants being installed. Of course, this will be more costly than it would be to have dentures installed, but it’s a much better solution, because implants will never shift around in your mouth.

Teeth Crowding

It is normal for elderly persons to see changes in their face and oral tissues, including size and form. The teeth frequently move about as these structures do, and the most typical outcome of this is that the teeth get overly crowded. It may be more challenging to chew with and adequately clean teeth that are crowded.

Oral Cancer

Knowing what to look for and seeking treatment as soon as possible are the best ways to protect yourself from oral cancer.

When diagnosing oral cancer, age is a significant role. Alcohol use and smoking both increase your chances of developing gum disease.

Be checked by your dentist to look for indicators of oral cancer if you detect any sores, color changes in your mouth, or other anomalies. Also, it’s a good idea to frequently self-examine your mouth to ensure that you can see any anomalies right away.

Tooth decay and tooth loss

Portrait of an Elderly Man image

Age-related root softening and gum recession can expose previously protected tissue to dangerous microorganisms. Also, you can have old fillings that are allowing germs to infiltrate your teeth around the margins and spread along the borders of your teeth.

Mild tooth decay might simply require a filling to fix the issue, but if it spreads to the root, you might require a root canal to remove the diseased and dead tissue.

If the decay is severe, you can lose the tooth. Nevertheless, leaving a gap can result in a variety of dental disorders, such as alignment issues, speech and eating difficulties, bacteria accumulation, and bone loss. Dentists provide dental implants as a remedy for this. Implants are used to replace missing teeth and mimic natural teeth in appearance, feel, and function.

Gum Disease

As the symptoms of gum disease, also known as gingivitis, can be minor or even nonexistent in the early stages, you might not even be aware that you have it. Gums that are readily bleedable, red, and swollen might be signs of gingivitis.

Periodontal disease is the most severe form of gum disease. Your gums may begin to peel away from your teeth at this point, which may result in the loss of bone and teeth.

You should practice good oral hygiene habits and receive periodic exams to prevent gum disease. If you do develop gum disease, get dental care, including root-planning cleanings and medications to combat bacterial infections.

Laser dentistry may be utilized if the damage requires surgery to be repaired. Laser dentistry employs focused light beams rather than drills to treat gum tissue and teeth. Laser dentistry offers a more relaxing, pain-free treatment.


Smiling Woman in White Dress image

Discoloration can result from years of smoking, chewing tobacco, or ingesting foods and beverages that stain. Also, as teeth age, the enamel can deteriorate, allowing the underlying yellow dentin to be visible.

Dentists can employ a teeth-whitening technique that uses a hydrogen peroxide-based gel to remove surface stains and shine your enamel. After only one visit, you could see a significant change. Moreover, veneers—thin, tooth-colored shells that are glued to the fronts of your teeth—can be used to cover teeth that have deeper discoloration.

Sleep Apnea

The elderly is particularly susceptible to sleep disturbances, with 50% of those over 65 having a chronic sleep issue of some kind. One of these is sleep apnea, which results in intermittent stops and starts of breathing during the night.

Depending on your symptoms, you could be treated for sleep apnea using an oral appliance that moves your jaw and tongue to maintain a clear airway. There is a laser procedure that can tighten oral tissues that are blocking the airway. It is a painless, non-invasive procedure.

These are but a handful of oral problems that might develop as you age. The good news is that with routine dental care, the majority of oral health issues may be avoided.

Receding Gums

Gum recession may result from the advancement of gum disease in a patient. Those who smoke are considerably more prone to get gum disease and recession. Other habits, such as tooth grinding and poor oral care, might hasten or even start the recession. They are more at risk since they have been smoking for a longer period of time and may have had other oral or gum problems in the past.

Gum recession is the process through which the pink tissue slowly recedes to reveal more of the tooth. It happens gradually over time, making it first difficult to see. If you believe this to be the case, you should see a dentist right once since it might result in tooth loss.

Your dentist ought to be able to identify the signs of receding gums if you routinely go in for dental cleanings. Yet, if you have sensitivity, exposed teeth, and discomfort, you could detect it for yourself.

The easiest strategy to stop smoking or limit the progression of this condition is to wear a mouthguard if you grind your teeth. Some excellent strategies to take better care of your gums include changing your diet to exclude more high-sugar meals and enhancing your dental hygiene.

Aging and Dental Health Key Points

Man in Black Jacket Wearing Black Headphones image

The population of older adults—those 65 years of age and over—is expanding and is probably going to play a bigger role in dentistry in the years to come.

  • The normal aging patient’s baseline health state might be complicated by comorbid illnesses (for example, hypertension, diabetes mellitus) and physiologic changes brought on by aging, even though it is better than in years past.
  • The frequent use of many prescriptions and/or OTC drugs by older persons makes them more susceptible to medication mistakes, drug interactions, and negative drug responses.
  • Care for dental health at home and patient education/communications may be problematic due to potential physical, sensory, and cognitive deficits brought on by aging.
  • Dry mouth (xerostomia), root and coronal caries, and periodontitis are dental disorders linked to age; patients may also exhibit greater sensitivity to medications used in dentistry, such as local anesthetics and analgesics.