Just like your body, your mouth doesn’t tend to get better as you get older. You will start noticing problems there.
For example, you may lose teeth because of cavities or injuries. Your gums may shrink, your mouth may dry up, and your sense of taste gets fuzzier.
With age, your mouth, teeth, and gums become more vulnerable to tooth decay, cavities, infections, and other serious problems. As much as possible, you wouldn’t want to lose that sparkle in your smile, right?
Fortunately, there’s good news. Proper care and attention make it possible to maintain a healthy, functional set of teeth for most of your life. This matters because good oral hygiene affects your physical and emotional well-being. A healthy set of teeth and gums not only allows you to chew and speak properly but also raises your self-esteem.
This post will explore the best practices for maintaining good dental health as you age. You will learn about the importance of regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene practices.
Also, many people think they can skip the dentist when they get older. But medical experts say they couldn’t be more wrong. People must visit their trusted oral care provider regularly, if not more frequently, as they get older. Working with professional dentists Idaho Falls or wherever you are ensure you get the services and care you deserve.
Whether you’re in your golden years or approaching them, here are the steps you must take to maintain your dental health.
1. Brush And Floss Regularly
One of the most important things you must do is to brush and floss your teeth regularly. Brushing removes plaque and bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth, while flossing takes care of food particles between them.
When brushing, make sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste that contains fluoride. This helps to strengthen your tooth enamel and prevent decay.
It’s recommended to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Make sure you get all the nooks and crannies, their surroundings, and the tongue.
Flossing is also an essential step in oral hygiene as it removes particles from areas of the mouth a toothbrush can’t reach. Do it atleast once a day, making sure to be gentle and not injure the gums.
2. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining good oral health. Your dentist can detect and treat issues such as cavities, gum disease, and oral growths before they become more serious. Visit them at least twice a year as part of your health routine.
During a regular dental check-up, your dentist will examine your teeth, gums, and mouth for any signs of decay or disease. They will also check for any signs of cancer, which can be challenging to detect in its early stages. Next, they may clean your teeth, removing plaque and tartar that may have accumulated since your last visit. If necessary, they will also take x-rays to find problems that may not be visible to the naked eye.
If your dentist detects any issues, they will discuss them with you and recommend the appropriate treatment. This may include fillings, crowns, or even more extensive work such as dental implants or root canals. They will also advise you on improving your oral hygiene routine and provide you with information on the best products to use.
It’s essential to keep your regular dental appointments and not delay them. If you have concerns or notice any changes in your oral health, bring them up with your dentist during your visit.
3. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Following the previous points, practicing good oral hygiene deserves its own discussion.
In addition to brushing and flossing, you may want to use an antiseptic mouthwash. This can help kill bacteria and freshen your breath. It also reduces plaque, lowering your risk of conditions like gingivitis.
Foods high in sugar and acid can lead to tooth decay. Limiting your intake of these foods can help protect your teeth.
If you feel like your mouth is not producing enough saliva, it’s best to chew sugar-free gum. This can help increase saliva flow, neutralizing acid and rinsing away bacteria.
Bacteria can accumulate on the tongue, leading to bad breath and other oral health issues. Using a tongue scraper to help remove bacteria and freshen your breath can help.
Lastly, if you grind your teeth or participate in sports or other activities that put your teeth at risk, it’s a good idea to wear a mouthguard.
4. Be Mindful Of Dry Mouth
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition where the mouth does not produce enough saliva. This can lead to several oral health issues, including tooth decay, gum disease, and difficulty swallowing or speaking. As you age, dry mouth can become more common due to a decrease in saliva production.
Several things can cause dry mouth, including certain medications, medical conditions, and lifestyle factors. You must know the potential causes of dry mouth and address them soon.
For example, both alcohol and tobacco can contribute to dry mouth. It’s best to avoid them not just for your oral health but for your overall wellness, too.
If you’re experiencing dry mouth, there are several things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms. First is to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This will help increase saliva production in your mouth.
As previously mentioned, you can chew gum to increase saliva flow and freshen your breath. Just make sure it’s sugar-free to reduce your risk of tooth decay. Another benefit of chewing gum is that it reduces tooth sensitivity by increasing blood flow to the gums and promoting teeth remineralization.
You may ask your dentist for over-the-counter saliva substitutes or prescription medications to help increase saliva production if these tips don’t work for you.
5. Be Aware Of Medications
Many medications can impact your oral health, especially as you age. You can know the oral side effects of any medicines you take by discussing them with your physician beforehand. In fact, always ask what your medication can do to your overall health.
Some medications, like antihistamines, antidepressants, and chemotherapy drugs, can cause dry mouth, leading to tooth decay and other oral health issues. Others can cause changes in taste, making food less appealing and leading to poor nutrition.
Others, like decongestants and diuretics, can cause a decrease in the flow of saliva. In contrast, some can cause changes in the mouth’s soft tissues, leading to conditions such as thrush (oral candidiasis) or burning mouth syndrome, a source of serious discomfort and pain.
If you’re taking medications that impact your oral health, it’s essential to take steps to protect your teeth and gums. This can include drinking plenty of water, using saliva substitutes, and practicing good oral hygiene. Your dentist may also recommend fluoride treatments or other preventive measures for better results. As always, stick to professional advice.
6. Stay Active And Eat A Healthy Diet
Staying active and eating a healthy diet is critical for maintaining overall health and well-being, including oral health.
Physical activity improves circulation, which, in turn, promotes healthy gums. It can also help maintain a healthy body weight, decreasing the risk of developing diabetes and other health conditions affecting oral health.
Meanwhile, a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables provides essential vitamins and minerals that build your mouth’s tissues and teeth. But it’s important to note that your nutritional needs may change as you grow older. So, consult a dietitian to ensure you’re getting the right balance of nutrients for your age and health status.
7. Take Calcium Supplements
Calcium is an essential mineral that’s needed for the development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. It also plays a role in preventing tooth decay and periodontal disease. If you’re not getting enough of it, supplements can help.
However, note that calcium supplements should only be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as excessive intake can lead to adverse side effects. A balanced diet that includes foods high in calcium, such as dairy products, leafy greens, and bony fish, provides a better source.
Keep Your Pearly Whites For Much Longer
Maintaining good dental health as you age is crucial for your overall well-being. Following the tips outlined in this post can help ensure your dental health remains in top condition as you age.
Remember that it’s never too late to start taking care of your teeth. Small changes in your daily habits can make a big difference in the long run. Also, your dentist is an essential partner in keeping your teeth healthy, so don’t hesitate to schedule regular check-ups and ask questions.
Your dental health is an investment that will pay off for the rest of your life. So, take the time to care for it and put in the work. With proper care, you can enjoy a lifetime of healthy, good-looking teeth and the many benefits that come with it.