Common Oral Health Concerns for Seniors

Just like other health aspects, the mouth changes as you age. As a senior, you may be more prone to certain issues that can affect your smile. Therefore, having a good dentist in Brookeland to help you keep tabs on your oral health is important. While every individual is different, many seniors commonly face certain issues with their teeth, gums, and oral health as they get older. Take a look at some of the most common issues and how your dentist can help you avoid problems.

Bone Loss

Bone loss refers to the natural breakdown of bone density. As you age, the mineral content in the bones can change, which allows some of the bones to lose their height. Bone loss can be especially prominent among patients who have lost some of their teeth. If you are concerned about bone loss and how it could affect your smile, talk to your dentist about what you can do to support a healthy bone structure as a senior.

Gum Disease

Gum disease can be the result of a number of changes within the mouth. Changes in blood circulation, a drop in salivation, and other issues can occur in your mouth as you get older. While these natural changes don’t necessarily always lead to gum disease, they can mean you are more at risk as you get older. One of the best strategies to protect yourself against age-related gum disease is to stay vigilant about your oral health care routine, including having your teeth cleaned at the dentist every year.

Decay

Older adults can grow more prone to problems with decay, but the causes can be different than for someone younger. The teeth can lose some of their density as you age, which can mean the exterior can break down easier with exposure to sugars and acids in what you consume. Your dentist can help you monitor your teeth for obvious weakening and tend to any issues with decay quickly.

Find the General Dental Care in Brookeland You Need to Maintain Your Smile

No written rule says you have to stop taking care of your smile at a certain age. In fact, with a good care plan and a healthy lifestyle, you can retain your original smile for the years to come. If you would like to schedule an appointment for a checkup as a senior, reach out to us at Rayburn General Dentistry.

diabetic dental care

Type 2 Diabetes and Your Smile – What to Know as a Patient

About 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. has diabetes, and as many as 95 percent of those individuals have type 2 diabetes. This condition affects how your body processes sugar, but it can have so many other repercussions on your health. Being especially vigilant about your oral health with type 2 diabetes is important. Here are a few things to know about your smile, type 2 diabetes, and the unique risks you face.

High glucose levels can mean you have heightened risks of tooth decay.

If you have higher than usual blood glucose levels, the body tries to expel it in any way that it can, including through your saliva. The higher concentration of glucose in your saliva is really hard on your teeth. In fact, you can be extremely prone to problems with decay if you have type 2 diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

You really have to pay close attention to gum health.

Gum disease is extremely common among people who have type 2 diabetes. The combination of high glucose in the saliva, a dryer mouth, and changes in blood circulation to the mouth can make your soft tissues in your mouth much more prone to inflammation and deterioration. Be sure to keep your sugar levels in check, take your medications, drink plenty of water, and monitor your gums for signs of problems.

Infections of the mouth can be more common as a diabetic.

Infection caused by either fungus or bacteria in the mouth is more common among people who have diabetes. If you have a decaying tooth, this means you can be a bit more at risk of developing an abscess. Therefore, any small lesion, injury, or point of decay should be immediately dressed by a dentist. Infections in the mouth can heighten your risks of needing to have certain teeth extracted.

Get Help Taking Care of Your Smile from a Brookeland Dentist

When you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, being vigilant about your oral health is so important. Reach out to us at Rayburn General Dentistry if you need help taking care of your smile as someone with diabetes.

Is My Tooth Too Decayed to Fix?

Tooth decay and cavities are common among adults, and sometimes, it is easy to prolong a dental visit to get an issue fixed. Cavities can spread and cause a lot of problems, so they should be tended to as quickly as possible. However, there are situations when a tooth is decayed to fix. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you have a severely decayed tooth.

Basic demineralization and enamel decay are the easiest to repair.

The outermost layers of a tooth are made up of hard minerals. When the enamel initially starts to deteriorate, you may notice changes in the color of your tooth at a certain point or feel a change in the texture of your teeth. At this stage, decay is easiest to repair; the inner parts of the tooth have not been affected. Therefore, it is best to get to a dentist right away for attention.

Enamel decay leads to holes, which require full fillings.

If basic surface deterioration is allowed to progress, you will end up with enamel decay. You may see a hole in your tooth that appears dark in color. Over time, the hole will grow larger, and the enamel around the hole may grow weak or brittle. This is the most common point when people will seek a dentist to get a filling.

Dentin damage can be signaled by pain and the decay may be harder to fix.

Dentin is the inner layer of tooth material between the enamel and the pulp. Dentin is soft, so it can deteriorate relatively quickly once it is exposed. While decay that leads into dentin can be repaired with a filling, the process can be harder and the structure of the tooth may be weakened.

Decay leading into the pulp may require extensive measures.

Once decay beaks down the enamel and dentin, the innermost pulp may be affected. The pulp is where the majority of blood vessels and nerves reside, which means by this point, you may have a pretty major toothache and a lot of sensitivity. Pulp damage requires a root canal, but a root canal alone may not always be enough to save the tooth as the entire structure can be weakened.

Any time you have a cavity, it is a good idea to reach out to a dentist as quickly as possible. The faster you get in for an assessment and treatment, the less likely it will be that your tooth has to be extracted. Reach out to us at Rayburn General Dentistry in Brookeland for an appointment.

 

Avoiding Bone Loss After a Tooth Extraction

If you have a tooth extracted and have no plan for replacing it, bone loss will occur over time. Bone loss happens when the bone recedes, or remodels, after an extraction. Dental implants can help you avoid bone loss and should be performed as soon after the extraction as possible.

What Is Bone Loss?

The chewing motion and pressure caused by teeth as they break apart food “exercises” the jawbone. It keeps the bone beneath your tooth healthy, active, and well-formed. Once a permanent tooth is extracted, however, there’s no longer anything holding the bone in place. this area of bone will then begin to recede over time. We call this bone loss, and the longer it’s left untreated, the more damage it may cause.

How to Prevent Bone Loss?

The best way to prevent bone loss is to take good care of your teeth and gums. If you never need to have a tooth extracted, you won’t have to think about how to keep the bone beneath it from receding. In the event you do end up needing to have a tooth pulled, either due to cavities or trauma, you’ll need a plan to replace it with something such as a dental implant to keep the bone healthy.

What Are the Dangers of Untreated Bone Loss

The dangers of ignoring bone loss after tooth extraction are relatively serious. Left untreated, this type of bone loss can cause changes to the structure of your face, making you appear much older than you are. Also, the longer the bone loss is left to deteriorate, the more difficult it will be for your dental professional to fix the problem. If you lose too much bone, dental implants won’t be possible. Instead, you may need a bone graft to correct the problem. Bone grafts are typically an expensive fix that is more invasive than a simple implant procedure.

If you’re struggling with bone loss following tooth extraction in the Brookeland, TX area, contact Rayburn General Dentistry. We have solutions to correct bone loss. Call today to schedule an initial consultation to discuss the options available.

 

Be Happy and Cavity-Free – Getting Children Serious About Tooth Decay

Children are more prone to decay than adults, and several reasons are behind this fact. More than 42 percent of kids between 2 and 11 have problems with decay in their teeth. As a parent, it is your job to help lower those numbers and keep your child happy and cavity-free. Here are a few ways you can encourage your child to be more vigilant about their oral health.

Invest in Child-Friendly Oral Hygiene Products

Getting kids to brush and floss at home is a huge part of helping them thwart problems with decay. Luckily, you have access to a long list of child-friendly products that can make the routine something kids can get excited about, such as:

  • Fun flossers outfitted with colorful characters or color-changing abilities
  • Musical toothbrushes that play a song until it is time to stop brushing
  • Yummy flavored toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Mouthwash that highlights spots on the teeth that need to be brushed the most

Make Oral Health a Big Deal for Everyone in the Household

Try treating your oral health and dental hygiene habits as something the family can do together. Maybe brushing your teeth together at night can become something fun, and almost like family time together. Perhaps trips to the dentist for a checkup can be a full-on outing with a special treat for everyone afterward.

Treat Formal Dental Care as Something Special

It may be true that no one necessarily likes going to see the dentist. However, children are little sponges that absorb the energies around them and reflect similar attitudes. Even if you are not too keen on going to the dentist, do your best to treat this form of care as something special. Keep a chipper attitude about your own treatments and the treatments your child may need. For example, if you normally dread getting your teeth cleaned, only say positive things about the trip when your kids are around. Maybe you could say you’re going to visit the dentist to get your smile to sparkle. When it is time for your child to have their teeth cleaned, they can reflect that same attitude about the experience.

Keep Kids Smiling with the Help of a Good Brookeland Dentist

So much of who we are and what we look like is wrapped up in our smiles, and our children make us smile a lot. Be sure to keep them smiling as well with the proper dental care. Reach out to us at Rayburn Family Dentistry in Brookeland, TX to schedule an appointment.

Why Do I Have Chronic Bad Breath?

Bad breath is a common and easily treatable condition that can arise from several different factors. It might have been something as simple as having eaten something specific or a symptom of some serious oral or medical problem. Covered below are several common causes of bad breath.

Lacking Oral Hygiene

Failure to regularly clean the teeth and mouth leads to bacterial growth from lingering food particles. Even the erratic surfaces of the tongue and tonsils can trap food and bacteria.

Pungent Foods

Anything containing onion, garlic or certain spices can cause odoriferous food particles to hit the bloodstream and then the lungs, escaping with its smelly potency through a person’s exhalation.

Coffee/Alcohol

The intense flavor of coffee and its salivation-limiting chemistry means that a person gives odor-causing bacteria more time to do their work after a cup of coffee. Alcohol also slows down the body’s ability to generate anti-bacterial saliva.

High-Sugar Diets

Bacteria eat sugar, meaning a high-sugar diet gives them plenty of time to turn the sweet stuff entering a mouth into foul stuff leaving that mouth.

High-Protein/Low-Carb Diets

A lack of carbs leads to a tweaked metabolism with bad breath as one possible consequence. Conversely, food rich in protein can be difficult to digest, leading to a buildup of sulfurous gasses that can reach up and escape the mouth as bad breath. One can avoid both of these problems with a balanced diet that features vegetables and herbs.

Smoking

Tobacco products lead to bad breath and other oral problems.If you smoke, chew tobacco or even vape, you may find that chronic bad breath develops.

Digestive Issues

Bad digestion, constipation, and disorders of the bowels can all lead to bad breath. Odors generated from frequent bouts of acid reflux can also permeate up through the esophagus and out the mouth.

Dry Mouth

Much like people who frequently imbibe alcohol or coffee, people with dry mouths, whether through a medical condition or as a side effect of prescription medications, have a hard time keeping bacteria from going to town on their mouths and producing bad breath.

 

This covers the most common causes of bad breath. By being mindful of one’s diet and practicing good oral hygiene, most people can get rid of their unpleasant mouth odor. For the people who find even those actions insufficient, it may be a good idea to see a dentist for an oral checkup.

 

Why Do My Teeth Feel Loose?

You may remember what it was like to experience a loose tooth as a child, and you may even remember the nervous excitement that came along with those milestones. But when you discover a wobbly tooth as an adult, it can be scary. Even though adult or permanent teeth do usually feel pretty firm in their place, there can be reasons behind a tooth that feels loose. Here’s a look at what you need to know.

You may have undiagnosed gum disease.

Gum disease is actually one of the number one reasons behind teeth that feel loose, but the possibility of this condition tends to be neglected by the average person. Gingivitis is especially noteworthy for causing loose teeth because it can cause healthy gum tissue to dry out and pull away from the base of the teeth. Left untreated, gum disease can pose a major risk to your entire smile.

You could have changes in bone structure due to disease.

You can see your teeth, which are technically a lot like bone. However, what you do not see is the bone structure beneath the gums. If you have certain illnesses or diseases, it can cause changes in the bone structure under the gum line, and this can lead to the loosening of some of your teeth. Osteoporosis, for example, can cause the bones to deteriorate; they become more porous and more brittle, which can make the teeth loose due to lacking support.

You may be experiencing changes due to pregnancy.

Women often experience changes in their teeth when they are pregnant. Hormonal and other bodily changes can cause the structures that support the teeth to change to some degree, and this can cause one or more of your teeth to feel loose. Nevertheless, it is still best to have the dentist take a look to make sure there is nothing more serious going on.

Talk to the Dentist in Brookeland, TX About Loose Teeth

Any time you have a loose tooth that you have just discovered, it is best to talk to a dentist to find out what is causing the problem. If you need to schedule an appointment to see a dentist in Brookeland, TX, reach out to us at Rayburn General Dentistry for advice.

3 Dental Health Concerns for Senior Patients

Older adults tend to have more health concerns to be mindful of as they age, and it is no different with their oral health. If you are an older adult who is over the age of 65, there can be specific dental and oral health concerns to monitor with the help of your dentist. Take a look at some of the most common dental health concerns for senior patients.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is more prevalent among older adults for a few reasons. Older adults can have gum cells that regenerate slower, which can lead to a natural breakdown of the gums. Some older adults can also be more prone to infections of the mouth that can lead to gum disease.

Root Decay

Root decay is what happens when the root of a tooth starts to deteriorate even though the part of the tooth above the gum line is in good condition. Older adults who have issues with bone loss can have problems with root decay. In some cases, the decay can be helped with root canal therapy, but it is not uncommon for these teeth to have to be removed.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can come along with aging, but the exact reasons can vary by patient. Some older adults will see a slowdown in saliva production due to changes in the endocrine system that affects hormone levels. Some seniors will have issues with dry mouth due to other health issues, such as diabetes. Unfortunately, dry mouth can lead to risks of decay. Therefore, it is best to have your dentist and your doctor help resolve the issue through proper treatment.

Tooth Darkening

Tooth darkening is caused by a breakdown of the materials inside the tooth. The teeth are actually somewhat transparent in the outer layers, which means when the interior starts to break down, it can cause the tooth to look darker all the way throughout. The dentist may be able to offer treatments with traditional root canals or fillings that can help negate these darkening issues.

Talk to Us for Geriatric Dental Care

At Rayburn General Dentistry, we treat patients of all ages who have all kinds of oral health concerns. If you need to schedule an appointment, reach out to us for information.

 

Why Dentists Recommend Fluoride

Have you noticed that every time you visit the dentist they are always asking if you are using fluoride? If you have children, the pediatrician may even ask you if you live in a town where the water is fluoridated. It seems that all health professionals are interested in whether or not you use fluoride in your home, but especially dentists. So why do dentists recommend fluoride?

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is an additive that was discovered many years ago to have restorative properties. Cities and towns across the United States pay to have fluoride added to the drinking water to help protect its residents from tooth decay. If you have town water on your property, chances are that you have fluoride in your water. If your water comes from a well, you’ll need to make sure you get fluoride from other sources.

Fluoride in Dental Products

Because fluoride has been shown to have significant dental health benefits, it’s often added to dental products like toothpaste and oral rinses. This is done to help ensure that even those without fluoridated drinking water get enough fluoride to protect their dental health. To make sure that you’re using dental products with fluoride, look for products that have the American Dental Association (ADA) logo on the label. The ADA endorses the use of fluoride so if you confine your dental brands to these labels, you should be fine.

Why Dentists Recommend Fluoride

The main reason why dentists recommend fluoride is that it is endorsed by the American Dental Association. This governing body has the resources to ensure that the benefits of fluoride outweigh any cons. Basically, if the ADA recommends fluoride, dentists will, too. The second reason that dentists recommend fluoride is that it works. If you ever look at the teeth of people who live in countries where fluoride is not used, it will become very obvious to you that fluoride makes a huge difference. Since dentists only want the very best for your teeth and gums, it stands to reason that they would recommend fluoride.

If you are worried that your family may not be getting enough fluoride, contact your town officials and ask if fluoride is added to the drinking water. A simple phone call is all it takes.

How Regular Dental Checkups Help Keep You Healthy

If you’re like many people, going to the dentist isn’t among your favorite activities — and consequently, you may only see a dentist when you experience an oral health condition that causes you so much discomfort or even pain that you can no longer ignore it. However, the vast majority of dental issues can be circumvented or delayed by taking preventive measures, including scheduling regular appointments with a dentist. Most people should see their dentist every six months.

Your Dentist Will Perform Regular Cleanings

Even if you’re meticulous about brushing and flossing your teeth as a part of your at-home oral hygiene routine, you won’t be able to remove all the plaque and tartar buildup that occurs over a period of time. This buildup is what causes tooth decay and gum disease. Regular professional teeth cleanings ensure that plaque and tartar buildup is kept to an absolute minimum. As an added bonus, having your teeth cleaned on a regular basis will help keep your smile white and bright.

Your Dentist Will Devise a Customized Care Plan for You

One of the most significant advantages of having a regular dentist is that you’ll receive customized care designed to meet your individual needs and preferences. Your regular dentist will know your medical history as well as your dental history and will, therefore, be able to screen for conditions that you may be vulnerable to be developing and to implement preventive treatments designed to prevent them or slow down their progress. Regular dental checkups also make it possible to catch conditions such as gingivitis at their onset instead of after they’ve progressed to the point where the prognosis isn’t as good.

Your Dentist Will Screen You for Oral Cancer

Regular dental checkups are your first line of defense against oral cancer. Your dentist will perform a thorough examination to detect possible signs of oral cancer and will refer to a specialist if further investigation is warranted. 

Please feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment for a dental checkup or for more information on how having regular dental checkups can have a positive impact on your overall health.