As we age, taking care of our teeth becomes even more crucial. According to Harvard Health Publishing, over three-quarters of people over age 65 retain at least some of their natural teeth.
Age can influence our oral health in many ways, and it’s important to understand the effects of aging on the teeth and gums, as well as how to ward off problems like tooth decay and gum disease. Here are seven tips on how to keep up with your oral health as you age.
1. Establish a Dedicated Brushing Routine
When you were younger, you may have been more lenient when it came to your daily brushing regimen. As you get older, it’s important not to overlook the importance of a dedicated brushing routine, which includes brushing for a full two minutes at least twice a day, flossing daily, and rinsing with mouthwash.
2. Brush Gently to Avoid Wear and Tear
Over time, brushing becomes second nature, and you may not fully pay attention as you scrub your pearly whites. Unfortunately, brushing too aggressively can cause unnecessary wear and tear on tooth enamel. If you haven’t already, switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush in small, gentle circles on all the surfaces of the teeth.
3. Reevaluate Your Toothpaste
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been buying the same toothpaste for years or even decades. But have you ever looked at the label? As we age, it’s normal to develop greater tooth sensitivity. If you’re experiencing sensitivity, ask your dentist about toothpaste products with a low relative dentin abrasion (RDA) value. Toothpastes that are labeled for “sensitive teeth” often have a low RDA. However, toothpastes that are made for removing stains or tartar control may have a higher RDA.
4. Consider Oral Health Side Effects from Medications
As we get older we may require daily medications to maintain good health. Unfortunately, some medications can have unwanted side effects, such as dry mouth. Chronic dry mouth creates an environment in the mouth that harbors bad bacteria and contributes to tooth decay. If you are experiencing these types of side effects from your medications, speak with your healthcare provider about adjusting your dosage or ask your dentist about an oral moisturizer.
5. Eat a Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet
What you eat can play a critical role in your oral and overall health. Sugary, processed foods can create acids that wear away tooth enamel over time. High-sugar treats can also contribute to the development of tooth decay and gum disease. Steer clear of unhealthy foods and beverages and stick with options that deliver essential vitamins and minerals. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats.
6. Protect Against Oral Cancer
Your risk of oral cancer increases as you age. Take the necessary steps to protect against this serious condition by undergoing regular oral cancer screenings from your dentist. There are also certain things you can do to lower your risk of oral cancer like drinking in moderation, not smoking or chewing tobacco, and using an alcohol-free mouthwash.
7. Schedule Regular Dental Cleanings
Regular cleanings can help ward off tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. During a teeth cleaning, your dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar from all tooth surfaces, as well as floss and polish your teeth. Cleanings are also paired with exams at which time your dentist will assess your mouth for cavities, gum disease, oral infections, oral cancer, and other conditions.
Contact Artistic Touch Dentistry Today
Maintaining a healthy smile as you get older is not always easy but is necessary to retain your natural teeth for as long as possible. With proper care and regular visits to your Melbourne FL dentist at Artistic Touch Dentistry, you can help maintain your smile for a lifetime. Contact us today at (321) 724-1400 to schedule an appointment.