No matter what age you are, maintaining your oral health is important since once you’re an adult, you’re not getting any new teeth naturally. However, what worked for you when you were 25 might not work so well for you anymore at 55. If you find yourself wondering if your dental routine needs to be adjusted as you grow older, rest assured it does. The passage of time naturally changes conditions in your mouth even as the natural wear and tear of regular use affects your teeth. Even if you have a full set of dentures, a partial set or all your original teeth, it’s just as important to take proper care of your mouth now as in your youth. Dr. Karl Neuhaus of Creekside Dentistry & Implantology in Amherst, NY 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 recommended to children in order to help build strong, healthy teeth and ward off decay, it can still help you 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 toothpastes and mouthwash brands add fluoride to their products to help their consumers protect their teeth. Fluoride attracts minerals to your tooth enamel to help strengthen it. As always, brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing daily are still recommended for older adults. Drinking fluoridated tap water is also an easy step you can take 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 aspects of aging, such as taking more medications for chronic medical conditions, can increase your risk for dry mouth. Saliva production is also 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, 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 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 a side effect of 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. Neuhaus 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 common, gum disease isn’t an inevitable 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 Amherst, NY
A healthy smile is important at any age. Keeping up with 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 Amherst, NY area and need routine or cosmetic dental care, call (716) 262-8070 or schedule online to see Dr. Neuhaus at Creekside Dentistry & Implantology today.