Maintaining good oral health is important no matter what age you are, but you may need to alter your dental routine as you grow older. It’s an established fact that conditions in our mouths change with the passage of time. So whether you have a partial or full set of dentures, it’s just as important to care for your smile properly now as it was when you were younger. Dr. Benjamin Stevens of Beautiful Smiles in Greenwood, IN wants to make you aware of these tips for keeping up with your oral health once you’re over 55.
Oral Health Over 55
Fluoride Is Still Important
While products infused with fluoride are commonly suggested for children in order to help build strong, healthy tooth enamel and ward off decay, fluoride can still be helpful for you even if you’re in your 50’s. Research indicates that older people have an increased risk for cavities, making the addition of products with fluoride to your daily routine a good idea.
Many toothpaste and mouthwash brands add fluoride to their products to attract calcium to tooth enamel and strengthen it. However, even with added fluoride, you should still brush at least twice daily and floss daily as well. Drinking fluoridated tap water can be an additional level of protection for your tooth enamel against decay as you age. Many dental offices offer in-office fluoride treatments if you seem especially susceptible to cavities.
Watch Out for Dry Mouth
While getting older doesn’t mean you’re definitely going to have a dry mouth, taking more medications for chronic conditions as older people tend to do, can make your risk for dry mouth increase. Saliva production is crucial as it naturally washes away food particles and bacteria that lead to tooth decay and cavities. Dry mouth can also negatively affect how your dentures fit, causing chafing between your gums and your dentures.
However, there are some changes to your lifestyle you can make to prevent dry mouth. Moisturizing mouthwash or sprays can be purchased to help with this condition. Sugar-free gum also encourages the production of saliva through the chewing motion. Artificial saliva — very similar to real saliva — is also available.
If you find these tips do not help the condition, you can also consult with your dentist or medical doctor. If your dry mouth is brought on by medication, changing your dose or the type of medication can help relieve this symptom.
Caring for Your Dentures
According to dental experts, more than 170 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth, and a large percentage of this total are seniors. Even if you already have replaced your missing natural teeth with dentures, it’s still necessary to care for those dentures and the gum tissue that support them. Beautiful Smiles recommends using a toothpaste that is specially made for cleaning dentures as this should be a daily part of their maintenance.
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 tooth implants that hold them before you put the dentures back in. Dr. Stevens 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
Even if you no longer have all of your real teeth, gum disease remains a major problem among older adults. However, while it is a common ailment, having gum disease doesn’t have to be just another part of getting older. Having good dental hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly can help you prevent it, identify it and treat it quickly.
Caring For Oral Health Over 55 in Greenwood, IN
A healthy smile is beautiful at any age. Maintaining good oral hygiene, visiting your dentist for routine exams and making changes to your routine as your body needs them will help you keep your smile healthy for years to come. No matter your age, if you’re in the Greenwood, IN area and need routine or cosmetic dental care, call (317) 886-4512 or schedule online to see Dr. Stevens at Beautiful Smiles today.