Maintaining your oral health becomes even more important as you get older. As your body changes, so do the conditions in your mouth, and there are some adjustments you can make to your oral hygiene regimen to keep your teeth healthy.
Whether you have all of your natural teeth, dentures or partials, or haven’t had any dental work in the past, it’s to take vital to care for your teeth once you’re over 55. Paradox Dental Center of Indianapolis, IN would like to pass on some important tips about keeping your smile healthy over 55.
Fluoride Is Still Important
Fluoride treatments are recommended to children to help build strong, healthy tooth enamel because most children’s toothpaste does not contain fluoride. Most adult toothpaste contains fluoride, so these separate fluoride treatments are no longer necessary. However, it’s important to ensure that you continue to get fluoride in your daily routine, whether from toothpaste or mouth rinse.
So why is fluoride added to dental products in the first place? Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel by attracting calcium to reinforce your enamel, preventing cavities and strengthening tooth enamel. Saliva that coats the teeth protects against oral bacteria, and added fluoride in your system offers additional strength. Drinking fluoridated tap water is one of the richest sources of fluoride and is recommended to protect enamel against tooth decay as you age
Watch Out for Dry Mouth
Although getting older doesn’t automatically make you more likely to have dry mouth, certain side effects of aging, such as taking more medications for chronic conditions, can increase your risk for dry mouth. Saliva production is important as it naturally washes away food particles and the potentially harmful bacteria that feed on them. This prevents tooth decay and cavities. Dry mouth can also interfere with the fit of your dentures, causing chafing between your gums and your dentures.
However, there are a few changes to your lifestyle you can make to reduce your chances of dry mouth. Moisturizing mouthwash or sprays can be used to help with this condition. Chewing sugar-free gum also encourages the production of saliva. Artificial saliva, which closely mimics real saliva, is also available.
If you find these tips do not help you avoid dry mouth, 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 though they are artificial, 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 maintenance.
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. Your dentist can give you a list of specific instructions on caring for your dentures to make sure you get as much use of them as you can before you need to replace them.
Don’t Forget about Gum Disease
Even if you no longer have all of your real teeth, gum disease remains a serious issue among older adults. Although it is common, gum disease isn’t an inevitable part of growing old. 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 Indianapolis, IN
Everyone feels good when they look good and part of that is having a healthy smile. Keeping up with a good oral hygiene regimen, visiting your dentist for routine check-ups and making changes to your routine as your body needs them will your smile stay healthy for years to come. No matter your age, if you’re in the Indianapolis area and need routine or cosmetic dental care, call (317) 325-8612 or schedule online to see Drs. Carole and Robin Thoman at Paradox Dental Center today.