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Is Tooth and Vision Loss Just Part of Aging?

Posted in News

Just Part of Getting Old?

The average person views tooth loss as “just part of getting old (aging)”. In fact, most Canadians have lost a few teeth by the time they reach their sixties. Statistically speaking it’s probable. According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) approximately 25% of Americans 65 years and older have lost ALL their natural teeth. Even though this is an American statistic it’s transferable enough to be alarming to Canadians. Interestingly, the same study showed that the same age group who currently smoked tobacco doubled that with almost 50% over 65 missing all their teeth. Despite the odds, Clearview Dental often treats clients in their 90’s who still have all their teeth. So, what’s their secret? They obviously don’t think tooth loss is just part of aging. How do you avoid becoming a negative dental statistic?

People have the same general feelings about Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), good sight is just something we lose because of aging. It’s true, AMD is a common condition, it’s a leading cause of vision loss for older adults. It doesn’t result in blindness but can severely impact your ability to see faces, read, drive, or do general tasks around the house. It can progress very different for each person, but it to, is not always a direct result of getting older.

Susceptible to Wear Over Time

The tires on your car are incredible. Just think of the wear and tear they endure. You could compare them to your teeth that grind, bite, tear, chew, rip, and chomp the foods you eat. Despite their enamel covering being the hardest substance in your body, they are still susceptible to wear over time. If you stop and think about everything we throw at them, teeth have incredible endurance. However, they are not impervious and have their limitation as to what they can take. Even if we do everything right, there are factors that can impact their health such as genetics, lifestyle, and diet.

Macular degeneration occurs when the macula, part of the retina that is light-sensitive near at the back of the eye, wears down or thins. This type of AMD is called “dry AMD.” Wet AMD is when abnormal blood vessels grow in the back of the eye and damage the macula. There are usually more treatment options available for wet AMD. Like enamel wear, researchers agree that you may be able to lower your risk of AMD (or slow vision loss from AMD) by making healthy choices like quitting or avoiding smoking, having a good diet, and exercising. AMD can also be a genetic disorder.

Overwhelming Your Bodies Defences

Fortunately, the human body does much to support your teeth, but neglect, a bad diet, and bad habits such as smoking can overwhelm your bodies oral defences at the expense of healthy teeth. We hear a lot from toothpaste companies about restoring tooth enamel but once enamel is worn down to a certain point, it can become impossible to recover without your dentists help. Clearview Dental offers fillings, sealants, veneers, crowns, and implants when needed.

Staying healthy also slows the progress of or prevents AMD from happening. Do your best to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, eat lots of leafy green vegetables and fish, and get regular comprehensive dilated eye exams at Clearview Optometry. Treatment options could include dietary supplements (vitamins and minerals), injections, or photodynamic therapy (injections and laser treatment). Currently there are stem cell trials being done for treatment of AMD that could be a future option.

Circumstances and Changes

With age comes different circumstances and changes that can harm our teeth and eyesight. For example, several medications cause dry mouth and make keeping teeth clean more challenging. Your age can limit your ability to exercise the way you need to. A person’s attitude towards ageing can also become a factor for both tooth loss and eye issues. If anxiety or depression cause you to neglect your general health, it can limit your success.

Despite all the known potholes on the road to keeping your teeth and avoiding AMD, you can succeed. Brushing twice a day, 30 minutes after breakfast and before bed at night for 2 minutes is essential for teeth. Add to that flossing and a good mouthwash and you’re significantly increasing your odds of keeping all your teeth for life. Supplying your body with the building blocks (vitamins and minerals) it needs to stay strong can reduce your chances of AMD.

Our Preference is Always to Maintain and Prevent

Visiting Clearview Dental & Optometry for checkups and exams regularly improves those chances even further. The pandemic may have scared you away, but rest assured, Clearview is a safe place.

Dr. Kapadia will monitor your teeth making sure new developments on your teeth are found and addressed properly.

Dr. Bajaj can identify most eye issues with an annual comprehensive eye exam, and help you avoid future problems. In many cases when issues are identified early more treatment options are available and higher success rates are achievable. The need for regular visits can’t be overstated.

When treatment for dental or optometry related problems erupt, Clearview has your back with medically necessary and cosmetic treatment options. They use the lates technologies and treatment options to prevent, maintain, and repair your dental and eye health. Call us today, schedule an appointment, or read some more of our posts to learn more. Tooth loss and vision impairment doesn’t always have to be part of the aging process.