What to Watch Out For
If you have certain medical conditions and are taking medications, you may be experiencing reduced saliva flow, which can be caused by antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers and diuretics. This condition is known as dry mouth syndrome. Dry mouth can cause a constant sore throat, trouble speaking and swallowing and dry nasal passages.
Chewing or sucking on sugar-free candy and gum are good ways to stimulate saliva flow. However, if you do not have adequate saliva to wash the food debris and acids off your teeth, dry mouth can also lead to tooth decay. It is important that you tell your dentist if you notice any of these symptoms.
As you age, you may also notice that you are losing your appetite for certain foods because of a weakened sense of taste. Age, certain diseases, medications and dentures can all impact your taste buds. Speak with your dentist if you notice decreasing taste bud sensitivity.
You may also notice that your teeth are becoming darker as you age. This is usually caused by dental plaque buildup, which occurs more rapidly with age. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are the best ways to manage dental plaque build up and keep your teeth white.
In addition to regular dental visits and good oral hygiene, speak with your dentist if you notice any of the following:
- Loose or chipped teeth
- A change in the fit of dentures
- Dry, cracked, swollen or blistered lips
- Bleeding gums
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Gums pulling away from teeth
- Pus around teeth near the gum line
- Difficulty chewing
- Lack of taste or particularly bad breath (halitosis)