Aren’t I Too Old To Be Getting Cavities?

Unfortunately not.  Tooth decay does not discriminate and can occur at every age.   And, as it so happens, changes in your mouth as you age can even make cavities an issue as an adult.  As we get older gums can start to pull away from our teeth exposing the roots to plaque, and it’s not uncommon for dentists to see decay around the edge of fillings as well.

Cavities can also occur with older adults because of medications that dry out the mouth reducing the flow of saliva.  This will increase the risk of getting cavities since saliva protects the teeth.

And of course we can experience decay at any age due to the foods we eat.  Just because we’re older doesn’t mean our sweet tooth goes away.  Hopefully it means we have a better ability to resist the urge but just the same, there are foods that don’t wash away as easily with our saliva and cling to the teeth.  Foods such as ice cream, sugar, chips, and milk will stick around and cause damage.  That is why it is very important that we brush and floss regularly especially when consuming foods that tend to linger in the mouth to avoid getting a tooth filling.

We probably don’t associate heartburn with tooth decay but heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux can actually have a significant impact on our teeth.  If you have an issue with heartburn, it’s important to know that the flow of acid into your mouth will wear at the enamel of your teeth.  If you’re dealing with enamel loss you may want to talk to your doctor to see if it’s a contributing factor.

Yes, it would be nice if cavities didn’t have to be a concern after the age of 18, but it just simply isn’t the case.  However, maintaining good oral hygiene habits will go a long way in preventing tooth decay and regular check-ups and cleanings at the dentist will mean that any tooth decay that does occur will be caught before it becomes an even bigger issue.