Maintaining good oral health is important no matter what age you are. However, you may wonder if your dental routine needs to be adjusted as you grow older. It’s a fact that the passage of time naturally changes conditions in your mouth. So even if you have a partial or full set of dentures, it’s just as important to take proper care of your mouth now as when you were younger.
Dr. Albert Caves of Caves Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Columbus, GA wants to make his patients aware of these tips for keeping up with their oral health over the age of 55.
Fluoride Is Still Important
Studies show that people over 55 are at greater risk of developing cavities, so older people should continue to use products with added fluoride in their daily routines. Fluoride is important because it attracts calcium to the enamel to help maintain strong, healthy teeth. Fluoride has even been shown to reverse early signs of tooth decay.
Many toothpaste and mouthwash brands add fluoride to their products as added protection for their consumers’ tooth enamel. However, brushing at least twice daily and flossing daily are still recommended by Dr. Caves for older adults even if your products have added fluoride. Drinking fluoridated tap water can also help protect your tooth enamel against decay as you get older. Some dentists offer in-office fluoride treatments if you seem especially prone to cavities.
Watch Out for Dry Mouth
Dry mouth does not automatically come with aging but some age-related medical conditions and/or their accompanying medications may increase the likelihood of it. Because saliva naturally washes away food particles and the oral bacteria that feed on them, dry mouth can increase your chances of tooth decay. Dry mouth can also lead to chafing and discomfort for patients that wear dentures.
If you believe you are suffering from dry mouth, there are a few changes you can make to your lifestyle to help reduce your symptoms. Moisturizing mouthwash or sprays are sold that can help with this condition. Chewing sugar-free gum also stimulates the production of saliva. Artificial saliva, which closely mimics real saliva, can also be prescribed.
If you find these tips do not help the condition, you should consult with Dr. Caves or your area dentist. If your dry mouth is caused by medication, discuss adjusting your dose or trying a different medicine with your doctor to help control this side effect.
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 care for your dentures just as you would your natural teeth. Cleaning your dentures on a daily basis with a toothpaste made for dentures is important for their upkeep.
Dentures are a great choice for restoring functionality, but you also need to make sure your mouth stays healthy. Brushing your gums with a soft toothbrush will remove food particles and oral bacteria from the mouth, keeping the tissue healthy. Patients with partial dentures need to make sure they floss between the supporting teeth before putting their partial back in. Dr. Caves 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
Gum disease is a serious issue among older adults whether they still have their own natural teeth or now have dentures. However, although it is common, gum disease can be avoided. Keeping up with a regular dental hygiene regimen and seeing your dentist regularly for routine exams can help you prevent it, identify it and treat it quickly.
Dental Care for Seniors in Columbus, GA
Oral health is important for people of all ages. Maintaining good oral hygiene, visiting your dentist for routine check-ups and making changes to your routine as your body needs them will help you to have a healthy smile for years to come. No matter your age, if you’re in the Columbus area and need routine or cosmetic dental care, call (706) 407-4851 or schedule online to see Dr. Caves today.