Aging Gracefully With Your Teeth and Gums

Oral Changes in The Older Patient

Growing older signals a myriad of changes in your body that one can naturally expect. Many of us observe our thinning hair, fine lines appearing everywhere, not being able to see or read well without glasses, joints becoming stiff, a little memory loss here and there. Your mouth and all its structures undergo simultaneous changes as well, and knowing them should prepare you to better manage oral issues through the years.

While the teeth are some of the strongest structures in the body, they, too, undergo ageing. With constant chewing, biting, gnawing, they will inevitably show signs of wear and tear. Teeth grinding surfaces will smoothen out, flattening with time. The hard outer layer of enamel will thin, and perhaps from time to time you will experience tooth sensitivity. Thinning enamel can make you prone to tooth chipping or breakage, so it is advisable to be conscious when biting on hard foods. Teeth often become darker with age, also due to the loss of enamel.

Teeth, however, become generally less sensitive with age. Nerves found in the root and the gums seem to have more pain tolerance. Might be a good thing, but the situation can lead to cavities forming and other dental issues that can be far gone before detection and more difficult to treat. This makes dental visits more important for them. They may also manifest increased sensitivity to drugs used in dentistry, including local anesthetics and analgesics. Nonetheless, expert dental care can handle these situations.

Gum Health is Important too

The same is true with an older person’s gum health. A mild gingivitis can easily lead to its more severe form – periodontitis – if not treated early. It is more common for older people to have bad breath, bleeding and receding gums, and tooth lost as aftermath of severe gum disease.

Dry mouth is another common symptom of ageing. Mouths often get drier beyond middle age, so drinking plenty of water is helpful to avoid caries and mouth infections. Multiple medications, highly common in the elderly, can cause dry mouth, a side-effect of many drugs. While these are essential for treatment of medical conditions, the older patient must be mindful of keeping the mouth properly hydrated.

Diabetes, hypertension, depression, among others, are common among older folks and have a direct impact on oral health. While good oral hygiene is key, a tandem of doctor and dentist can very well co-manage the patient enjoying a better quality of life while gracefully aging.

Caring for Patients of All Ages in Downtown Seattle

Our team at Smile Art in Seattle understand the oral changes going on in our patients advancing in years. While we provide the same quality of care for all, there are special populations with individualized needs.

The Burden of Bad Breath: What’s Causing It?

Not Just a Matter of Poor Oral Hygiene

Bad breath is a fairly common condition that can affect even those who stick to their oral hygiene routine faithfully. If you’re one of those who brush and floss regularly, you’d be surprised one day that someone has the temerity to tell you your breath needs fixing.

The condition does not always connect to poor oral hygiene. There may be other conditions contributing to bad breath.

Lifestyle and Bad Breath

For one, your diet. Can your diet be described as spicy and flavorful that it uses lots of garlic and onion and other exotic ingredients like curry? The odor comes from the breakdown of food debris by bacteria and also when once ingested, the food enters the bloodstream and carries over to the lungs. With every exhalation, odors can be detected.

Another cause is lifestyle habits. Maybe you are a chain-smoker or into chewing tobacco leaves or other such tobacco products. The smell of smoked cigarettes linger for hours in the lungs, hence the stale scent associated with smoker’s breath. Tobacco products leave chemicals on tooth surfaces, on and under the gums, and on the tongue. Needless to say, these chemicals are carried over to the lungs. Because these chemicals are mostly carcinogenic, they can lead to the secondary causes of foul breath, such as cancer.

Certain medications can affect one’s breath, alter taste, or cause dry mouth syndrome. Dry mouth presents as decreased salivation and with that a perfect environment for bacterial growth. Many medications are associated with the syndrome. To name a few: certain antidepressants, antihistamines, antihypertensives, antianxiety drugs, antiangina drugs, as well as certain drugs for reflux disease, ulcers, migraines, bronchodilators and decongestants. This list is only partial. On the other hand, smoking, alcoholism, snoring and long periods of speaking can also lead to dry mouth. Dry mouth is considered the number one cause of bad breath.

Other conditions can manifest bad odors coming from the mouth. These are mouth infections, like sores, pus, periodontal disease of the gums, as well as nose, sinuses and throat conditions.

Busting Bad Breath In Downtown Seattle

Don’t let bad breath bother you. Know that the condition and its cause can be determined by professional examination of your Downtown Seattle dentist. A visit to Smile Art in Seattle is your first step to fresher, cleaner breath.

Which Dental Treatments Are Worth Investing In?

Wise Investments Are For Keeps

With our obsession for the perfect smile, many treatment options are accessible to take on. But sometimes you ask yourself. Which ones are worth investing in? Which are more important than others? The cost of cosmetic or restorative work can be hefty, involving some degree of research to make a well-informed conclusion. Nonetheless, investing on dental care wisely is a commendable life-changing move.

Invisalign

One such good investment is Invisalign. These clear aligners are the most advanced teeth straightening system proven to fix simple to complex orthodontic cases. There are millions of Invisalign users. It’s a time and money-saver compared to traditional braces, prolong better oral health, and is more comfortable and convenient. If you are considering, search for Invisalign-trained doctors in your area. This ensures you are talking with an experienced dentist/ orthodontist about your treatment.

Dental Implants

Another great investment are implants. They look as natural as your natural teeth, filling in the gaps without resorting to bridges. It can fix and normalize your bite and preserve the jaw as it integrates with your own bone. With optimal integration and proper oral hygiene, quality implants can last a lifetime. If you are ready to invest in implants, know first the best practitioners you can find.

Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth-whitening is another procedure worth the money. DIY projects come with some form of risk, so it is better left in expert hands. Before any actual whitening begins your dentist will clean your teeth and gums from plaque and tartar, and fill in any cavities. This can’t be done if you DIY. Dentists can use higher peroxide content whiteners or use UV or argon lasers that bring immediate, better, safer and monitored results for lasting whites.

Why is dental work, however much it costs, worth getting done?

For one, it can affect quality of life. A serious dental problem can make one miserable and putting it off can exacerbate symptoms or lead to further problems down the line. The treatment can boosts self-confidence. An untreated dental issue can make one less confident about smiling and have a negative effect on work and personal life. And finally, untreated oral problems will cause a chain reaction of problems in the future. It can cause one to spend more and allot more time in saving the situation.

Investing Wisely in Seattle

It’s not just monetary value do we attach to these dental treatments. Remember that dental problems only tend to get worse with time, not better. Be sure to invest wisely. Good investments are for keeps. If you have any questions regarding dental services or financial factors, please feel free to contact our Seattle office.