No matter whether you’re five or fifty-five, maintaining your oral health is important. But you might find yourself wondering if your dental care routine needs to be altered as you grow older. It’s true that as we grow older, conditions naturally change in our mouths. No matter if you have a full set of dentures, a partial set, or even all of your original teeth, it’s just as important to take proper care of your oral health now as when you were younger. Dr. Leonard Hess, a respected dentist in Monroe, NC, wants to educate his patients on tips for maintaining their oral health once they’re over 55.
Fluoride Is Still Important
Everyone knows that products with fluoride added are recommended to children in order to help build strong, healthy teeth and ward off tooth decay. However, fluoride is good for your teeth even if you’re in your 50’s. Research has shown that older individuals have an increased risk for cavities, making the addition of products with fluoride to your daily routine a good idea.
Many kinds of toothpaste and mouthwash brands add fluoride to their products to aid their consumers in protecting their teeth. Brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing every day is still important for older adults. However, drinking fluoridated tap water is also recommended to help you protect your tooth enamel against decay as you age. Some dentists offer in-office fluoride treatments are found to be especially prone to cavities.
Watch Out for Dry Mouth
Although getting older doesn’t mean you are more likely to have dry mouth, certain aspects of aging, such as the need for more prescription medications for chronic conditions, can increase your risk for dry mouth. Your mouth’s production of saliva is important as it naturally washes away food particles and the bacteria that feed on them, preventing tooth decay and cavities. Dry mouth can also negatively affect the fit of your dentures and make your gums feel chaffed when wearing your dentures.
If you suffer from dry mouth, there are a few changes to your lifestyle you can make to 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.
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 studies, more than 170 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth, and losing your teeth becomes more common as you get older. Even if you have dentures, it’s still important to care for those dentures just as you would your natural teeth. Using a 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.
Brushing your gums and tongue with a soft toothbrush removes 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. Hess 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.
Even if you no longer have all of your natural teeth, gum disease remains a serious threat to oral health among older adults. However, gum disease isn’t inevitable in older people. Maintaining good dental hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly can help you prevent gum disease.
Dental Care for Seniors in Monroe, NC
A healthy smile is beautiful at any age. Keeping up with good hygiene habits, visiting your dentist for regular examinations, and making changes to your routine as your body needs them will help you maintain your healthy smile for years to come. No matter your age, if you’re in the Monroe/Charlotte area and need routine or cosmetic dental care, call 704.240.5045 or request a consultation online to see Dr. Hess at Union County Center for Comprehensive Dentistry.