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What gum and dental problems can I face with aging?

With aging, mature adults usually require repair of previously restored teeth. Decay in the mature adult often affects the roots of the teeth as well as the crowns (coronal caries). The material of roots is softer than the enamel of crowns.

The gums normally recede with aging, leaving the surfaces of the roots of the teeth more exposed, less protected, and more susceptible to decay. With aging, it requires careful brushing and flossing to ensure cleanliness.

It's estimated that 25 percent of adults over age 60 no longer have their natural teeth. Missing or infected teeth can hinder eating a balanced diet, which is important for disease prevention. Along with cavities, gum (periodontal) disease is a frequent cause of tooth loss. Periodontal disease increases with aging, and men have a higher chance of severe gum disease than women.

Many older adults take medications that result in dry mouth. Dry mouth causes a reduction in lubricating saliva, which contains minerals and antimicrobial chemicals that coat and protect the teeth. People with dry mouth may have difficulty speaking, chewing, or swallowing.

No matter what your age, go in for periodic dental checkups.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.