No matter how old you are, maintaining your oral health is still important. However, you may wonder if your tried and true dental routine needs to be adjusted as you get older. It’s true that the passage of years naturally changes conditions in your mouth as well as throughout the rest of your body. So whether you have a full set of dentures, a partial set or even all of your original teeth, it’s as important as ever to take proper care of your mouth now that you are older. Dr. Harry McCool, a respected dentist in Lilburn, GA, 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 infused with fluoride are often prescribed to children in order to help build strong, healthy tooth enamel and ward off decay, fluoride can help your teeth stay healthy and strong even if you’re in your 50’s. Dental research has shown that older adults have an increased risk for cavities, making the addition of products with fluoride to your daily routine a good idea.
Many toothpastes and mouthwash brands add fluoride to their products to help protect their consumers’ smiles. As always, brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing every day are still highly recommended for older adults. Drinking fluoridated tap water is also suggested to help you protect your tooth enamel against decay as you age. Some dentists offer in-office fluoride treatments if you have been especially prone to cavities lately.
Watch Out for Dry Mouth
Although getting older doesn’t mean you are more likely to suffer from dry mouth, certain aspects of aging, such as taking more medications for chronic conditions, can increase your risk for having the condition. Saliva production is important as it naturally rinses food particles and the bacteria that feed on them off your teeth. 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 are experiencing dry mouth, there are a few changes to your lifestyle that you can make to help reduce your symptoms. Moisturizing mouthwash or sprays are available to help with this condition. Chewing sugar-free gum, which encourages the production of saliva. Artificial saliva, which closely mimics real saliva, is also available to help keep your mouth moist.
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 may help relieve 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 having missing teeth becomes even more common as you get older. Even if you have dentures, it’s still important to care for them just as you would your natural teeth. Use toothpaste that is specially formulated for cleaning dentures, and making sure you clean your dentures on a daily basis are both important for their upkeep.
Don’t Forget about Gum Disease
Brushing your gums and tongue with a soft toothbrush is also advised to remove any bacteria and food particles from your mouth. If you have partial dentures, be sure to floss around the implants that hold them before you put the dentures back in. Dr. McCool 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.Whether or not you have all of your real teeth, gum disease remains a serious threat to the oral health of older adults. However, while it is common, gum disease isn’t an inevitable part of growing old. Maintaining good dental hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly can help you prevent, identify and treat gum disease quickly.
Dental Care for Seniors in Lilburn, GA
A healthy smile is beautiful at any age. Maintaining good oral hygiene habits, visiting your dentist for routine check-ups 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 Lilburn, GA area and need routine or cosmetic dental care, call (770) 450-4407 or schedule online to see Dr. McCool today.