Why You May Be Prone To More Dental Complications As You Age

Posted on: 20 February 2015

As you grow old, you tend to develop more oral/dental complications than you had while growing up. This is not only because of your body changes (including dental tissue changes), but also due to the habits and diseases that develop as you age. For example, you may develop age-related dental complications due to:


This is a medical condition in which your bones become brittle and weak. This happens because the new bone tissues are not created first enough to replace the aged and dead ones. Osteoporosis is common in old age, especially for the female sex.

Osteoporosis-related fractures tend to affect the hip, wrist, and spine, but they are not confined to these parts of the body. Don't forget that your teeth are also mostly made of the same tissues as your bone, so osteoporosis affects it too. In fact, dentists tend to notice the onset of the condition before other people do. The condition may result in:

  • teeth loss due to reduced mineral bone density
  • ill-fitting dentures
  • weak jaw bones
  • increased severity of dental injuries


Although aging doesn't necessarily cause dry mouth, most aged people have xerostomia (dry mouth) because of other age-related issues. For example:

  • Many aged persons take a lot of medications due to age-related illness, and many of these medicines (such as anti-seizures) dry up the mouth.  
  • Sjogren's syndromean autoimmune disease in which the white blood cells attack the moisture-producing glands in your body. It is common in old aged women, and the condition makes your mouth (and eyes too) extremely dry.

Dental conditions associated with xerostomia are numerous, and they include:

  • Bad breath
  • Increased risk of gum disease
  • Increased plaque

Teeth Changes

As you age, your teeth age too, and part of the aging process involves coloration of the teeth. Age-related coloration occurs due to a number of factors such as:

  • Dentin changes – chemical composition of the dentin (the hard part of the teeth) changes as you age, making it more yellowish.
  • Thinning enamel – this allows the colored dentin to show through.
  • Lifetime of habits – after many years of drinking and eating stain-causing drinks and food, the effect will show on your teeth. Don't forget that dental injuries also discolor your teeth due to blood staining.

All these things show that elderly people need more dental care than the young. As you grow old, you should be extra vigilant with your dental hygiene. Don't forget to brush and floss, and take lots of water frequently. Don't ignore any oral condition, even if it seems insignificant, but contact your dentist for a diagnosis and help.