Photo: Getty Images
Inflammation, dear boomers, can be found right under your nose. That is to say, unless you are very careful (and you should be very careful) it is in your mouth. Right now.
Getting older, as we are so tired of hearing, affects us in many ways. We are not as young as we once were. We are not as all-fired almighty as we used to be.
We are not able to do what we like without consequence, like we did when we punished our bodies, riding them hard and putting them away wet, to paraphrase an old expression about caring for horses.
What it means is, that we have to treat the old bod more gently and expect less of it than in days of yore.
We're tired of hearing all this. We'd like to forget it. But we'd better remember it if we want to keep our teeth.
Listen up now. If you haven't lost any teeth yet, there is hope to keep your youthful smile, even as everything else around it gets wrinkles.
Baby boomers are potentially living to older ages than any of our ancesters dreamed of. That means though that our teeth are older too and this means they need careful tending.
Decreased saliva production which is another byproduct of aging, affects the amount of bacteria that lingers in the mouth, exerting negative effects on the teeth. Some medications increase the risk of cavities.
Ancient teeth (yes, I mean yours, baby boomers) are more prone to breaking. And older gums are more prone to recede away from the teeth, due to gingivitis, which makes teeth more in danger of falling out as well.
Gingivitis is a form of inflammation that attacks the gums. It's a type of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease destroys tissues with infection and inflammation. Its targets are gums, teeth, periodontal ligaments and tooth sockets.
A sticky substance called plaque adheres to the teeth, causing gingivitis and tooth decay. If you have this plaque removed regularly by a dentist, and brush and floss devoutly, there is no harm done. But if you let this go, plaque will turn into tartar, which is very hard, and can encase the bases of your teeth.
Between the tartar and the plaque, inflammation will make its inevitable entrance to your mouth.