Gum recession, which is common in later life, is the process by which the border where the gum tissue meets the teeth is worn away or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth enamel. This can facilitate tooth or root decay exposing more of the tooth surface and creating gaps between the teeth and gums where plaque or food particles can collect and build up.
Effective brushing and flossing, ensuring all the exposed surfaces of the teeth are cleaned, can prevent this. Regular trips to the dental hygienist for a professional clean below the gum line and root surfaces can also minimise the risk of tooth decay.
Gum disease occurs when a build-up of plaque on the teeth and gums results in an infection of the gum surrounding the teeth. If left unchecked, it can become very serious.
Gum disease can be avoided with good oral care throughout life and regular visits to the dentist to check you aren’t developing any of these symptoms.
As tooth enamel thins, which can happen gradually throughout your life, teeth become more sensitive. You need to be careful not to overbrush, or brush too hard when cleaning your teeth, as this wears away at the enamel.
Brushing with a softer bristled toothbrush, or ideally an electric toothbrush and using a desensitising toothpaste can reduce sensitivity over time. Recent studies also suggest that rotating electric toothbrushes reduce plaque and gingivitis more than manual toothbrushes*.
This is one of the lesser known side effects of getting older and is caused by a lack of saliva in the mouth. It is usually caused as a side effect of some medication, which is why it becomes more common as you age. Since saliva is necessary to wash out the food waste, plaque and acid from the mouth after eating, a lack of saliva heightens the risk of tooth decay.
You can combat dry mouth by drinking plenty of water and chewing sugar-free gum. You can even find artificial saliva products- so talk to your dentist about these and any other measures you could be taking.
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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Healthcare Limited. Registered in England and Wales number: 03257078. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.