No matter what age you are, having a healthy mouth and teeth is important. But you would not be wrong if you wondered if your dental routine needs to be adjusted as you grow older. While it’s true that the passage of years naturally changes conditions in your mouth, gum disease, tooth decay and losing teeth is not inevitable. So whether you have a full set of dentures, a partial set or even all of your original teeth, it’s just as crucial to take proper care of your mouth now as when you were younger. Dr. Ken Schweifler in Los Altos, CA wants to make you aware of these tips for keeping up with your oral health once you’re over 55.
Fluoride Is Still Important
While everyone knows that products with added fluoride are recommended to children in order to help build strong, healthy teeth and stave off decay, fluoride-infused products can still help you even if you’re in your 50’s. Research has shown that older individuals are at an increased risk for cavities, making the addition of products with fluoride to your daily routine a smart play.
Many toothpastes and mouthwash brands add fluoride to their products to help their consumers protect their teeth. Dentists continue to recommend brushing at least twice daily and flossing every day for older adults. Drinking fluoridated tap water is also an easy way to help you protect your tooth enamel against decay as you age. Some dentists offer in-office fluoride treatments if you have found yourself especially prone to cavities lately.
Watch Out for Dry Mouth
Although getting older doesn’t mean you are more likely to have dry mouth, certain common aspects of aging, such as taking more medications for chronic health conditions, can increase the likelihood of dry mouth. Saliva production is important as it naturally washes away food particles and the bacteria that feed on them. This prevents tooth decay and cavities. Dry mouth can also negatively affect the fit of your dentures, causing chafing between your gums and your dentures.
If you suffer from dry mouth, there are a few changes to your lifestyle you can make to alleviate your symptoms. Moisturizing mouthwash or sprays are available to help with this condition. Chewing sugar-free gum, which promotes the production of saliva. Artificial saliva, which closely mimics real saliva, is also available.
If you find these tips do not help the condition, you can also consult your doctor or dentist. If your dry mouth is caused by medication, adjusting your dose or trying a different medicine can help alleviate certain symptoms.
Caring for Your Dentures
According to dental experts, more than 170 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth, and losing teeth becomes more common as you get older. Even if you have dentures, it’s still important to take care of those dentures just as you would your natural teeth. Using a toothpaste that is specially made for cleaning dentures, and making sure you clean your dentures on a daily basis are both important for their upkeep.
Brushing your gums and tongue with a soft toothbrush is also recommended to remove any bacteria and food particles from your mouth. If you have partial dentures, be sure to floss between the implants that hold them before you put the dentures back in. Dr. Schweifler or your area dentist can give you a list of specific instructions on caring for your dentures to make sure they last you as long as possible.
Don’t Forget about Gum Disease
Whether or not you have all of your real teeth, gum disease remains a serious issue among older adults. However, while it is a common affliction among seniors, gum disease isn’t an unavoidable part of getting older. Maintaining good dental hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly can help you prevent it, identify it and treat it quickly.
Dental Care for Seniors in Los Altos, CA
A healthy smile is beneficial and helps you feel and look your best at any age. Keeping up with good hygiene habits, visiting your dentist for routine check-ups and making changes to your routine as your body needs them will help you have a beautiful, healthy smile for years to come. No matter your age, if you’re in the Los Altos area and need routine or cosmetic dental care, call (650) 489-4620 or schedule online to see Dr. Schweifler today.