Common Dental Problems for Middle Aged Adults
If you are currently in your mid 30s to mid 50s, there’s a tendency to be complacent about your dental health. That’s especially the case for those who have had minimal dental issues in the past. However, without proper diet, oral hygiene and professional care, middle-aged adults are no less immune to the risk of dental health problems. Here are common dental problems in middle aged adults.
Gum disease is an inflammation of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. If it is severe, it can destroy the tissue and bone, leading to tooth loss. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. When plaque is not removed it can harden into calculus (tartar). When tartar forms above and below the gumline, it becomes harder to brush and clean well between teeth. That build-up of plaque and tartar can harbour bacteria that lead to gum disease. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are so important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed.
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, often occurs unconsciously while you sleep. It can cause serious damage to your teeth and jaw. Although it is often considered to be stress-related, teeth grinding can also be caused by sleep disorders. Your dentist’s choice of treatment will depend on the cause of your grinding, but you may be fitted with a mouth-guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.
The temporomandibular joints, or TMJ, are among the more complex joints in your body. Any problem that prevents the TMJ from working properly may result in a painful disorder, also referred to as TMJ disorders. The exact cause of a TMJ disorder is often unclear, but possible causes can include arthritis, dislocation, injury and/or problems related to alignment or teeth grinding from stress. If you’re regularly experiencing facial or jaw pain, see your dentist. Exercise, muscle relaxants or physical therapy may help.
Sometimes a cavity is just too deep to be fixed and may require a root canal. Root canal procedures are used to treat problems of the tooth's soft core, otherwise known as dental pulp. The pulp contains the blood vessels and the nerves of the tooth, which run like a thread down into the root. The pulp tissue can die when it’s infected or injured. If you don't remove it, your tooth gets infected and you could lose it.
If hot or cold foods make you wince, you may have a sensitive teeth which can be treated. Your dentist may recommend desensitizing toothpaste or an alternative treatment based on the cause of your sensitivity.
At some point, you may consider tooth whitening to help brighten your smile. Before using whitening products, talk to your dentist to determine the most appropriate treatment for you and if your teeth and gums are healthy enough to undergo a whitening procedure.