Older Adults and Dental Care: Keeping Your Teeth Healthy as You Age

Doctor with the elderly

Good oral health care is important for people of all ages. However, the older you get, the more your mouth changes. Your teeth’s nerves tend to become smaller as you age, making your teeth a lot less sensitive to cavities and other oral problems.

Maintaining proper oral care as you grow older minimizes loss of teeth which is the most common misconception connected to aging. As long as you take good care of your teeth, they should last a lifetime.

Dental Health Risks that Come with Age

Dry Mouth

Growing old does not automatically mean you will get dry mouth. However, certain things that aging brings about, like chronic conditions or more regular medications, increase the risk of getting dry mouth.

Attrition

Years of grinding and chewing can take its toll on your teeth. A decrease in enamel levels makes your teeth more susceptible to cavities.

Gum Disease

Gum disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an inflammatory condition surrounding your gums and tissues that keep your teeth in place.

Root Decay

If you’ve developed gum disease, then root decay isn’t far off as your teeth’s roots are left exposed as the gums recede. This exposure leads to a greater risk of decay.

Sensitive Teeth

Aging naturally makes your gums recede as the years go by. This leaves areas of your teeth that are not protected by enamel exposed.

Oral Care Tips for Older Adults

1. Watch what you eat

Limit your sugary food intake to minimize tooth decay. Always choose healthier food options. Veggies, fruits, grains, cereals, fish, lean meat, eggs, and dairy are great nutritious options you can include in your diet.

2. Drink plenty of water

Water not only keeps you hydrated, but it also helps lessen tooth decay because they contain no sugar.

3. Brush your teeth and gum lines with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day

Brushing your teeth removes plaque and prevents it from building up. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush minimizes bleeding gums. If you have certain physical conditions that prevent you from brushing your teeth, go see your dentist immediately for recommendations.

4. Use soap and water to clean your dentures

Having dentures doesn’t get you off the hook. You still need to brush your gums and tongue twice a day. You may also clean your dentures using soap and water. If you are experiencing pain with your dentures, go see a dental professional. You might need a new set of dentures. There are a lot of improved ways that can help you in this area such as digital dentistry and 3D printing orthodontics.

5. Quit smoking

Smoking is one of the major causes of mouth cancer and gum disease. If you want better oral health, stay away from tobacco.

7. Visit your dentist regularly

Even if you don’t find something wrong with your teeth or you don’t feel any pain, you still need to go and see your dentist for regular check-ups. Visiting your dentist regularly helps you keep track of your oral health and can be preventive in nature.

Oral health is important for people of all ages. A healthy smile looks good on any person regardless of age. Take good care of that smile by taking care of your oral health.

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