Aging often leaves its mark on nearly every part of your body, and your mouth is no exception. You can take action to prevent or at least delay the effects of aging on your body, and sometimes it's surprisingly easy to take few small extra steps to ensure that problems are "nipped in the bud" before they blossom into larger issues. If you are older, you may be experiencing some dental issues that seldom, if ever, arose in the past. Read on to learn more about these 4 dental maladies that affect senior citizens and how to deal with each of them.

1. Inflammation of the gums

If you are noticing that your gums are more prone to bleeding and are feeling swollen and sore, you may be suffering from the beginnings of a far more serious problem. Bacteria is usually the culprit, and it will cling to the tartar and plaque that routine cleanings normally remove. If allowed to progress, gingivitis results, which in turn will progress to the most serious of gum disorders: periodontitis. This gum disease will eventual begin to destroy the bones around your mouth.

2. Missing Teeth

As if the embarrassment of not being able to comfortably smile were not bad enough, the problem with missing teeth goes beyond vanity. Once teeth are missing, other teeth move slightly over time to fill the space, which can lead to loose teeth throughout your entire mouth. You can alleviate this issue, and give your smile a boost, by using bridges, dentures, or implants to fill in the missing spaces and keep those teeth in their rightful place.

3. Dry Mouth

If you often wake up in desperate need of a drink of water, you may be suffering from dry mouth. Dry mouth can be caused by medications, diabetes, and other health conditions that seem to afflict older people. If you couple those causes with the fact that people naturally produce less saliva as they age, you have a issue that is more than just annoying; dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, since saliva acts as a cleanser for the mouth.

4. Mouth Cancer

Oropharyngeal cancer often progresses alarmingly with a lack of obvious symptoms. The tiny bumps on the inside of your checks are often not felt or noticed until your dental check-up. With an early diagnosis, the prognosis could be good, so be sure not to miss your routine dental exams.

These issues are often remedied and caught by your normal dental cleaning exam, so don't put that appointment off. For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Minnesota  Lakes Dental.