4 Tips For Maintaining A Healthy Mouth As You Age
Whether you are 6 or 60, a healthy mouth is important at any age. When your teeth and gums look and feel great, you can easily chew and digest nutritious foods, speak with ease, and smile with confidence. That’s not to say, however, that seniors don’t face unique dental challenges as a result of aging. Worn teeth, stains, cavities and dry mouth are a few common problems that arise during your older years.
Luckily, preventing oral health issues and keeping your smile healthy isn’t difficult with consistent oral hygiene habits at home, smart lifestyle choices, and regular care from your dentist. Keep reading for four easy ways that seniors can maintain a healthy, youthful-looking smile well into retirement.
1. Brush and floss. The risk for cavities increases as you gets older, which makes brushing and flossing just as important in your senior years as it was as a child. To keep your mouth healthy, fresh and clean, brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for a full two minutes. Great oral hygiene habits will help remove food debris and harmful bacteria that accumulate on the teeth and along the gum line. An electric toothbrush is an excellent option if moving your manual toothbrush has become increasingly difficult or painful in your older years.
Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove food particles where tooth brushes cant reach. There are also specialty floss picks available to assist you in effectively cleaning between and around every tooth.
2. Don’t delay visits with your dentist. Visiting your dentist for routine cleanings and exams is vital to keeping your mouth healthy as you age. Your dentist can detect problems like gum disease and oral cancer in their earliest stages and recommend the best course of treatment to preserve your natural smile. Seniors should be proactive when issues arise, and seek professional dental care as soon as possible. If you experience dental problems, your dentist can take care of them in a timely manner to ensure the best outcome for your smile and overall health.
3. Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes nutrient rich foods, like lean proteins, dairy, whole grains, and raw fruits and vegetables. Avoid foods and drinks that contain a lot of sugar, and brush after snacking to reduce the risk for decay.
If you smoke, take steps now to quit as soon as possible. Not only does smoking put you at a greater risk for cancer and other diseases, it also leads to gum disease, decay and tooth loss.
4. Take proper care of your dentures. If you wear full or partial dentures, you will want to clean them every day to remove plaque buildup and food debris. Remove them while you sleep at night and for a few hours during the day to allow the tissues in the mouth to breathe.
You can’t turn back the hands of time, but you can take important steps toward maintaining healthy teeth and gums. By making improvements to your oral health now, you can protect your mouth from tooth loss and other dental diseases well into your golden years.
Charlie Culp, dentist at Culp Dental, graduated from Clemson University, Summa Cum Laude, with a Bachelors in Biological Sciences. He then went on to attend dental school at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. Charlie graduated in 2011 and is currently licensed in both North Carolina and South Carolina.