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Prevention is key to keeping your mouth healthy when you are over 40. Your dental care routine continues to play an important role in preventing disease. Everyone at every age must deal with bacteria in the mouth that causes cavities and gum disease. For older individuals, however, keeping gum disease at bay becomes even more vital since gum disease can lead to other medical issues such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Diet for Dental Health in People over 40 Years of Age

In addition to regular daily brushing and flossing, people over the age of 40 need to be careful with diet. Make sure to eat healthy foods such as fruits and veggies that all contribute to maintaining your body and mouth health. These consistent dental habits combined with regular dentist visits go a long way in keeping your smile for many years.

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Dental Concerns for Adults 40 to 60

At every life stage gingivitis and gum disease are risks to dental health. Gingivitis is a reversible condition; however, if it progresses to periodontal disease of the gums, the condition is more serious. Many adults have gum disease without any warning symptoms. That is why regular dental checkups and periodontal exams are necessary.

Missing Teeth in Adult Dental Patients Over 40

Average adults have 3 or more missing or decayed teeth between the age of 20 and 64. We recommend taking care of missing teeth as soon as possible. Large gaps between teeth affect speaking and eating. In fact, missing molars can also affect how you chew food. Even more importantly, missing teeth can cause shifts in the remaining teeth as well as bone loss in the gap around the missing tooth.

Options to Replace Lost Teeth

  • Bridges: removable or fixed option depending on your mouth and need, they anchor to adjacent teeth
  • Dentures: An option for adults who have lost all or most teeth.
  • Implants: Similar to natural teeth.
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Sensitivity in Aging Teeth

If your teeth hurt when eating or drinking hot or cold food or drinks, you most likely have sensitive teeth. Causes of sensitive teeth include:

  • Cavities/tooth decay
  • Exposed root of a tooth
  • Fractured teeth
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Worn fillings
  • Gum Disease

Treatment typically includes toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Routine oral hygiene prevents sensitive tooth pain.

Oropharyngeal Cancer

This type of cancer affects the oropharyngeal cavity, which includes the throat, lips, gums, jaw, palate, mouth lining or tongue. It usually starts as a small white or red sore, spot, or swelling in the mouth or throat.

Visiting your dentist for regular dental checkups improves the chances that any changes to your mouth are caught early for treatment. Be sure to talk to your dentist about your health history and schedule an oral cancer screening annually.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer: Mouth or Throat

  • Mouth sores that bleed or do not heal
  • A thick lump or hard spot
  • Rough or crusty area
  • Numbness, tenderness, or pain
  • Change to the bite or how teeth fit together when biting down