Saliva, a leading chemical buffer that maintains the acid/base balance inside our mouths, is generated by salivary glands primarily positioned within our cheeks as well as underneath our tongues. Such glands create two forms of saliva, serous saliva and mucoid saliva. Serous saliva is simply "wet and water", while mucoid saliva is "sticky and thick." Serous glands typically produce a buffering chemical substance, and mucous glands assist proteins that are very important in the primary digestion of food.
As we get older, fatty tissues are kept within our serous salivary glands and replace the cells that produce saliva with fat slowly but surely. The final result is a progressive decline in the amount of serous saliva generated. Due to this fact, xerostomia
(" dry mouth") occurs, and the mouth becomes, much more acidic from bacterial digestion and function. Since acidity is what causes cavities, people are much more prone to cavities as we get older.
Numerous prescriptions as well as radiation treatment also can create xerostomia. Though today's prescriptions can regulate high blood pressure, heart disorders, arthritis, etc., they also reduce salivary gland function as a side effect. Chemotherapy decreases cell reproduction in those cells which recreate rapidly, including salivary gland cells.
Since numerous changes happen in the mouth caused by the aging process, it is crucial that frequent dental exams are kept. It may be a good idea to even think about scheduling even more frequent dental examinations to catch new locations of tooth decay when they are just beginning. Certainly, skilled fluoride treatments as well as fluoridated toothpaste combined with effective home mouth hygiene are the most effective methods to reduce the consequences of xerostomia which occur with aging.
When you believe you could have a cavity, don't hesitate to set up a meeting with Dr. Lechner at our office
in Delaware, OH! You may also make use of our online appointment request form