The Ageing Mouth: A Diary of Oral Decline
The Ageing Mouth: A Diary of Oral Decline
We dentists are well known for telling it as it is. A trip to the dental clinic is for many a confronting experience with the human condition. When we look under the bonnet, so to speak, and your mouth is wide open there is nowhere to hide. For older members of our society, the ageing mouth is on display like a three dimensional confessional. Embracing the truth, however, need not be a debilitating experience but rather can be empowering. Getting older is, realistically, an unavoidable fact of life. Of course, we all wish to delay and defer the ultimate conclusion to our journey. Dentists have a substantial role in this cosmetic sleight of hand via teeth whitening and the maintenance of the health and wellbeing of our oral cavity. It is no bad thing to look after your teeth and gums for as long as you possibly can. We dentists are devoted to this task and bring all our know how and prowess to the job at hand. Especially to the ageing mouth and the challenges it faces.
Secrets of The Oral Cavity Through Time
The infant and its mouth, by contrast, seeks to know its universe by shoving everything into it. Nipples, teats, dirt, toys, teddies, and whatever else is at hand. This orifice is forever moist and gaping for new horizons. Our mouths undergo their own journey through life. Early mastication and the sensual greed for novel taste sensations is all about the mouth. First kisses and the passionate teenage or young adult years find another flavour for our hungry mouths. Thirsts and hungers feature heavily in the mouth’s most memorable moments. Dentists can be a dry lot but we deal with a depository for some of our sauciest intimate episodes. All good things must come to an end, however. Our mouth ages and the oral realm deteriorates accordingly.
A Mouthful of Old Nooks & Crannies
Some of my clients share with me philosophical snapshots of their lives and where they find themselves. Ron, a sexagenarian, tells me that he no longer drinks or smokes, and rarely, if ever, has sex, the only pleasure his mouth is involved in these days is a good meal. The state of his teeth, unfortunately, limit what Ron can safely enjoy consuming. He was an aficionado of chilli and cracked black pepper but now, these granular spices cause him all sorts of agony via his ageing remnants of teeth. Oral decline often forces the issue when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our teeth. Of course, I can fix many of Ron’s problem decayed teeth with fillings, inlays and onlays and I encourage him to come and see me more often for relief from tooth ache. Too many clients put off coming to the dentist and prolong unnecessarily the pain and discomfort they experience. We dentists are here to help.
Dry Mouth & Gum Disease
Another client was telling me about her dry mouth and developing gum disease. Getting older naturally increases the risk of periodontal disease due to the build up of plaque and tartar over time. Neglecting proper dental care and smoking can accelerate serious gum disease. Diabetes and a weak immune system, also, greatly enhances the onset of dental problems and complications in older individuals. More oldies have dental cavities simply because more of us are keeping our natural teeth into older age. As we get older we need to take greater care of ourselves and our oral cavity health. Many older people do the reverse, unfortunately, and neglect their health to their own detriment. Oral cancer is another serious possible outcome from a life of smoking, drinking, and poor oral hygiene.
Getting older can be depressing. The movie star Bette Davis famously said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” Hair is growing wildly in all the wrong spots on your body. My own daughter is horrified every time she uses the bathroom after me – the sheer volume of shed body hair has her muttering about gorillas breaking in and using our shower. Dandruff coats shoulders and the tops of arm chairs like snow falls on the Himalayas. Paunches spread around my middle like the slumping beanbag in the den. The dry mouth and snoring are entangled like the chicken and egg. Ageing for some is a constant battle with gravity and inevitability.
Our mouths and their constituent parts are subject to the forces of time along with everything else. A kiss from grandma is often avoided by sensitive grandkids. Overkill with eau de cologne can be as much to blame as anything else. These things are all part and parcel of the natural facts of life. We dentists do as much as we can to alleviate the discomfort and dilemmas of the ageing mouth. Our commitment to the health and wellbeing of your oral cavity is constant. Don’t put up with unnecessary pain by putting off a trip to the dentist. Remember that with old age comes wisdom – so be smart and seek top quality dental care more often, as you get older. You deserve it!
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