Dental care at any age is essential, but as our bodies age, dental care becomes even more critical. One such area of concern is your mouth, with the CDC finding that two-thirds of adults aged 65 and over have gum disease while nearly one in five of the same age group has lost all of their teeth.
Your mouth and your smile are among the first things people notice about you, and keeping on top of your oral health can make all the difference to your health and confidence. This post delves into some top tips for maintaining and improving your oral care routine and preserving your smile as you age.
Brush with Flouride
Everyone knows you need to be brushing your teeth twice a day. However, you must ensure you are brushing with fluoride toothpaste to help you maintain strong, healthy teeth and minimize the risk of tooth decay and cavities. Fluoride helps to strengthen enamel which is essential for strong, healthy teeth. On top of this, you should talk to your dentist about when you need to start using fluoride rinses for added protection.
Keep On Top of Dry Mouth
A lack of saliva in the mouth is a leading contributor to tooth decay and cavities, which, over time, will lead to tooth loss. While getting older doesn’t automatically mean you will experience a dry mouth, environmental factors, and medications can increase the likelihood of this happening. To avoid a dry mouth, make sure you are adequately hydrated to ensure you aren’t dehydrated, which can make your dry mouth worse. You can also chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva production and use moistening mouthwashes to alleviate symptoms if required.
Flossing Is Vital
Flossing is one of the things most people lie to their dentist about. Not everyone is a fan of the little bits of dental string being pulled between teeth. However, debris can get lodged between teeth, leading to gum disease as one can not brush properly. These days you can use a variety of products to help you reach the parts of your mouth brushing misses. From the Standard dental floss string to interdental brushes and water flossers, you can find the solution that works for you and ensure you floss at least every night before bed or to avoid the chance of plaque taking hold and gum disease developing.
Brush Your Tongue And Gums
Brushing your teeth is just part of the process of a healthy mouth. There are other areas of your mouth where bacteria can build up, and these need to be addressed too. Brushing your tongue with your toothbrush or using a toothbrush with a separate tool for your tongue can remove build-up that can cause bad breath and foster bacteria production. Tongue scrapers can also help you to do this too, although it can take a little getting used to.
When brushing your teeth, you should also focus on giving your gums a massage with your toothbrush too. Much like on your tongue, harmful bacteria can build up on the gum line leading to gum disease and erosion, which gives you increased oral health and lessens the risk of tooth loss.
Remove Damaged Teeth
Having teeth that are decayed or broken in your mouth can lead to further oral and health complications. Decayed and damaged teeth pose a threat to your mouth by potentially allowing poisonous bacteria to enter your bloodstream. If you notice teeth needing repair or removal, talk to your dentist about extracting them. From here, you can speak to them about having dentures or non-removable teeth to help you to repair your smile without living with missing teeth.
In some cases, your dentist might be able to save the tooth before considering having it removed, but as soon as you notice any signs of damaged or decayed teeth, make an appointment to see your dentist as quickly as possible.
Your diet plays an important part in how healthy your mouth is. You need to ensure you are eating a balanced diet that contains plenty of whole grains, vegetables, and pulses and can give you the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthier mouth. Cheese, milk, yogurts, crunchy veg, leafy greens, apples, pears, meat, fish, and even tea and coffee are good for your teeth and give you the nutrients you need for a healthier mouth.
Drink Water After Eating
Brushing your teeth after eating might seem like a good idea; however, the rushing action can help to ingrain any harmful residue into your teeth, which can, in turn, erode the enamel, causing damage. Instead of brushing after eating, drink water and hold it in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. This can help to gently remove any debris that builds up or residue in your mouth and promote a healthy mouth and protect your teeth. Plus, staying adequately hydrated is vital for good dental health and overall health, too, so it’s a win-win.
Visit Your Dentist
Preventative dentistry is much cheaper and easier to carry out than restorative treatments. By visiting your dentist every six or twelve months, as recommended, you can stay on top of any issues going on inside of your mouth and have them rectified before they get any worse. You can address gum concerns and chipped teeth and prevent cavities by ensuring you visit your dentist regularly. This is especially important as you get older, as you will be more susceptible to dental problems.
Staying on top of your oral health is essential at any age; however, as you get older, you need to pay more attention to how you care for your body in general, not just your mouth; by following these tips and practicing good oral habits, you can stay in the best possible health and ensure your smile looks and feels good for as long as possible.