As you grow older, you will find that you need to be aware of new possible problems with your teeth. We’ve talked about what you may encounter in your 20’s and 30’s and today, we’re going to cover those wonderful 4o’s.
In terms of dental health and dental problems, here are a few things to consider if you’re in your 40’s:
Older fillings: “White resin fillings last for about 8 to 10 years, and silver fillings last for up to twice as long,” says Dr. Iacopino. Beyond that, fillings start to wear down, become loose, or crack, allowing bacteria to seep in, which causes decay. Your dentist can identify fillings that need to be replaced. The same rule applies to bridges and crowns.
Your gums: There’s a link between periodontitis, or gum disease, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, not to mention diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. A recent study in the Journal of Periodontology reported that at least 23 percent of women aged 30 to 54 have periodontitis. If your gums are sore or red, or if they bleed when you floss, talk to your dentist. She may refer you to a periodontist, who can properly diagnose the condition and discuss treatment options, from more in-depth cleanings to, in rare cases, gum surgery.
Your exercise level: Believe it or not, your fitness level may determine the health of your smile. In a 2010 study in the Journal of Periodontology that looked at 1,160 healthy people, those who had the lowest body mass indexes (BMI) and the highest fitness levels were at the lowest risk for periodontal disease. Although researchers aren’t sure of the reason for this, people who take care of their bodies seem to take better care of their teeth. “The healthiest mouths I see are usually in the fittest patients,” says Donald Clem, a periodontist in Fullerton, California.
If you have older fillings, you might want to get their integrity checked to ensure they’re not cracked or worn excessively. And, it is about the 40s when gum disease starts to crop up if you’re going to have any. So you need to be aware of that and watch for signs.
Exercise, of course, is important for everyone and a regular exercise regime will do wonders for your health overall.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of this as it pertains to you, please feel free to call us in the office. We’ll be happy to discuss your concerns with you.