Golden Years May Bring Cavities

Saturday, December 15th, 2012, 6:37 pm

Cavities aren’t just a problem for kids. Lots of people find that when they get older, those golden years bring lots of new cavities. Why would you suddenly start getting cavities when you are in your 60′s or 70′s? Blame your medications.

One side effect of many types of medications including those for allergies, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression (a lot of the most common prescriptions written today), cause reduced saliva flow. We usually call this “dry mouth” and it is one reason you need to tell your dentist about all of your medications you may be taking. If you are on a medication that causes dry mouth here are some suggestions to reduce your risk of dental decay:

  • Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers – these ususally come in spray or rinse form
  • Drink lots of water all day long. This helps rinse food debris from your mouth and keeps the tissues moist.
  • Chew sugar-free gum (those containing xylitol are most helpful) or suck on sugar-free candies to stimulate saliva flow
  • Avoid beverages that add to the problem like coffee, alcohol and carbonated soft drinks
  • Check with your physician to see if a lower dose or different medication could help

Don’t skip on your dental visits as you get older. Dry mouth not only leads to more dental decay but your gums can be affected as well.  Regular dental hygiene visits can help clear away plaque and bacteria so you can maintain good oral health – which leads to better overall health – as you age. It is not unusual to have decay under older dental restorations. In some cases the decay may require removal of the tooth. While dental bridges are still used in some cases to replace the missing tooth, a far more popular and natural feeling option is a dental implant. Dental implants act just like tooth roots and the restoration is completed with a special crown. The resulting tooth looks and feels like your natural tooth.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next dental hygiene appointment.

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