Few people make it to adulthood without getting a cavity. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, roughly 92% of adults ages 20 – 64 have had at least one dental cavity! And while they might not be quite as cavity prone as young children, adults can still get new cavities; in fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) notes that as we get older, we enter our “second round of cavity prone years.” Keep reading to learn more from your dentist about how adults are still susceptible to cavities and how dental sealants remain an effective solution, no matter your age.
What Causes Cavities in Adults?
Just like children’s teeth, adult teeth that have lots of pits, grooves, and crevices are much more prone to cavities. Family history and genetics also play a role, as does bruxism (the grinding and clenching of teeth) that wears down your enamel over time. Age, in general, can also weaken teeth and make them more susceptible to dental caries.
Even though grownups are more likely to practice good oral hygiene habits, it still isn’t a priority for everyone. And just because someone is older doesn’t necessarily mean that they adhere to a healthy diet. But poor dental and dietary habits aside, adults can still suffer from cavities due to other issues associated with aging health.
The same ADA article also states that there are over 500 different types of medication that can cause dry mouth. And while dry mouth might seem harmless, your saliva is one of your body’s primary means of cleaning your mouth and preventing tooth decay. Sadly, dry mouth becomes an issue for many adults as they age, and it’s often expedited by certain medications.
Who Can Benefit from Adult Dental Sealants?
Elderly or disabled patients who need help with their dental care might greatly benefit from adult dental sealants. Conditions such as ALS, MS, or dementia might make it difficult for someone to maintain their oral health on their own, but dental sealants provide an extra layer of protection to their teeth. Older patients who simply have teeth with deep grooves and crevices can also benefit from adult sealants; it will depend on your individual circumstances. That said, patients of all ages can benefit from the treatment.
It’s important to keep up with regular dental visits throughout your adult life in order to maintain optimal oral health. Adults with a higher likelihood of getting cavities should consider getting dental sealants.
About the Author
Dr. Rebecca Long has proudly served patients and families in the Austin, TX area for several years. Dr. Long received her dental doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry and is a Fellow of the prestigious Academy of General Dentistry. Her practice is pleased to offer a wide range of available services including preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. If you have any questions about the article or would like to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact Dr. Long through her practice’s website or by phone: (512) 489-9157.