The Risks Associated With Our Dental Health After We Reach 50

The Risks Associated With Our Dental Health After We Reach 50

There is a lot of talk about how our health deteriorates as we age. Our muscles naturally weaken, our skin becomes loose, and we can experience hearing loss to name a few.

Most of us will also experience the decline of our dental health without the correct care and treatment. 

This of course is natural with wear and tear over the years, but carrying out the correct preventive measures before it’s too late is key if you hope to maintain your natural oral structure.

First, we will discuss what you are susceptible to experiencing during this time, and then we will give actionable steps to take to either prevent the issues from worsening or avoid the problems as a whole.

Dental wear and tear 

Much like any structure that is used vigorously for long periods, teeth tend to face wear and tear as a result of a lifetime of use.

This wear and tear can be minor, but in some cases this can leave the dental impression brittle, making them susceptible to chips and cracking.

Also, if you have developed a habit of teeth grinding this will highly affect the wear and tear of your teeth.

If there are chips in your teeth, they can be resolved by your dentists using fillings, but if they are left untreated this might result in tooth loss.

Gum recession

Our gums also tend to naturally recede with age, exposing more of the soft root tissue and ultimately leading to increased sensitivity.

Studies have shown that 71% of people in the 50-59 age range group have gum recession, further highlighting its prevalence as we age.

The severity of how receding gums affects each person can be dependent on their inherited genes.

There are of course measures that can be taken to prevent any early signs of receding gums worsening.

Brushing your teeth too hard can also enhance the results of gum recession. Make sure that you are using a softer bristle brush if you are starting to experience signs of early gum recession.

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can develop at any stage of life, but for a lot of over 50s sensitivity can cause them a lot of stress and discomfort.

This sensitivity can be a result of prior issues such as worn down teeth, but sensitivity is also largely the result of nerve changes. This can make computing and eating a much more uncomfortable habit to engage in if sensitivity is not addressed as soon as it starts to show.

This can also work on the opposite end of the spectrum, as our nerves can also get smaller as we age leading to abscess formation and infection. 

Tooth decay 

Adults that are over the age of 50 are at a higher risk of experiencing tooth decay for some reason.

Tooth decay can often go hand in hand with receding gums, as this exposes the root of the tooth leaving them more susceptible to cavities.

Tooth decay can be a result of many things. Even poor and neglected dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay.

If decay leads to rotten teeth, and this is left for a prolonged period, this can manifest itself into an infection that spreads to other parts of the body.

Gum disease

Periodontal disease, also referred to as gum disease, again is something we are susceptible to at all stages of our lives.

It is however more prominent in adults over the age of 65, with 68% of adults having gum disease.

The most common cause of this is the buildup of plaque, and also the fragility of older individuals contributes to the likelihood of getting such gum problems. 

Dry mouth

Dry mouth is a common symptom for people who are age 50+ on average, with both men and women being susceptible to experiencing this.

Women who are expiring menopause can also expect this as one of their symptoms. The saliva that is supposed to be present in our mouths is essential for neutralizing acids and reducing the risk of plaque formation.

A dry mouth is commonly associated with the symptoms of certain medications, as medications such as anticholinergic drugs cause dehydration for your body as a whole.

Tooth crowding 

The crowding of teeth is also common for people to experience as they get older.

The shift of our enamel can be for some reasons, but one of the most prominent is because of the gum recession, which ultimately leaves our teeth less supported and without sufficient protection.

Tooth crowding can also be a result of worn-down teeth which can shift the shape and shift the dental balance between each row of teeth. 

How to support your dental health in your 50s

Now you have an understanding of what is at risk, it is important to know the correct measures to take to reduce the risk of these problems developing. 

Have regular dental checks 

If you are someone who avoids the dentist at all costs, you need to get out of this mindset and begin the habit of having regular checkups.

As much as maintaining your dental hygiene is important, experienced dental professionals are key for spotting any early signs of problems developing such as gum recession.

This can save you a lot of money and discomfort in the future if the problem worsens beyond repair. Your dentist in leamington spa will also be able to provide you with the correct medication and treatments should you need them.

Use soft-bristled toothbrushes

As mentioned, gum recession is very common in people over the age of 50, and the process of the recession can be increased through vigorous brushing.

Brushing your teeth well and twice a day is a non-negotiable for your oral hygiene, but you must also consider using a soft-bristled brush to do so.

Soft bristled brushes will be much kinder to your teeth and gums. This can significantly improve the health of your gums, and prevent any further recession that can cause tooth decay.

Have a balanced diet 

A poor diet can adversely affect your dental health, especially as you reach an older age.

The bacteria that are present in our saliva are highly affected by our diets and the nutrients that are present in our bodies.

If we neglect to maintain a healthy diet filled with vegetables and whole-grain foods, our teeth will not be supported by a healthy bone structure which may result in tooth decay.

Eating crunchy vegetables is also great for maintaining the strength of our jaw bone, which inherently encourages the health of our enamel. 

Avoid smoking 

All healthcare professionals will advise against smoking. No matter how long you have smoked, there is always an opportunity to quit and invest time and energy into your health.

If you hope to keep all of your teeth past the age of 50, stopping smoking would have life-changing effects.

Smoking is heavily involved in creating the bacteria that develops into plaque, and when left untreated this plaque breaks down the enamel and causes tooth decay.

Also, smoking understandably heavily stains our teeth giving them a yellow and unsightly appearance.

If you are looking for a romantic partner in your 50s, you will likely have a better chance of doing so with a set of pearly white teeth!

Replace teeth if necessary 

If you are aware of teeth in your mouth that are weakened, or you possibly have gaps that have been left unreplaced, you should seek the help of a dental professional as soon as possible.

There are lots of risks involved with leaving gaps in your teeth, especially if the soft tissue of the missing area is exposed.

This can cause an infection that spreads to the rest of your teeth and puts the remaining enamel at risk of falling out.

Tooth replacement options would be the best cause of action, and your dentist will advise on the most suited option for you. Filling in missing gaps will also give you a full and beautiful smile to enjoy once more.

Bottom line 

Many dental health risks are associated with older age and it might be time to look at suitable supplements. .

They tend to develop from the age of 50, and either get worse or improve depending on the action each individual has taken.

Whilst some problems might be hereditary such as gum recession and tooth crowding, other problems such as dry mouth and tooth decay can be avoided with the correct preventive measures. 

You should always seek the advice of a health or dental professional when seeking treatment options.

They will be able to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem and offer the appropriate action to tackle the symptoms and progression of the issue.

You can take some matters into your own hands, such as stopping smoking, using a soft-bristled brush, and following a balanced diet.

Whatever action you decide to take to support your dental hygiene at 50+ years of age, make sure you do your research and have the correct diagnosis from a healthcare professional.


  • Stephen

    Stephen is now retired. He spent 25 years in community welfare and is one of the co-founders of life over 50. He has a keen interest in everything concerning this special age group.....and makes valuable contributions to the site. In his spare time, he enjoys photography, cycling and gardening. Also a keen jazz music lover!

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