As strong as your teeth seem to be, they are not indestructible. They can last a lifetime, however, if you take proper care of them. Teeth can become more brittle as you age, your tooth enamel thins which makes them look darker, and you can develop other issues that are detrimental to the health of your teeth such as dry mouth or periodontal disease. You may need special care for the mature mouth. Don’t skip out on your dental appointments, checkups, or cleanings. They can help you keep your teeth in great shape for the rest of your life.
Why You Need Dental Checkups
Dental checkups are extremely important to the health of your teeth and gums. Without healthy gums there will be nothing to hold your teeth in place. Your gingival tissue and periodontal ligaments perform that job. Periodontal disease is the major reason for tooth loss. Regular dental checkups help keep your teeth and gums healthy. As an older adult you may need checkups and cleanings more often especially if you are suffering from periodontal disease, diabetes, dry mouth (xerostomia), or are on special medications.
The Dental Checkup
Dental checkups can tell you about more than just the condition of your teeth, they can often tell you if you have some underlying medical condition. Many medical conditions present with oral symptoms such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and oral cancer. In relation to your oral health, dental checkups examine the health of each of your teeth by checking for wear, cracks, chips, excess plaque or tartar, and decay. Other things your dentist will look for include:
- Bite alignment (how your teeth meet when you bite down)
- The health of your TMJ (temporomandibular joint)
- Signs of gingivitis/periodontal disease
- Mouth sores
- The condition of existing dental work