By the time most people have passed age 65, about 75 percent still have at least some of their natural teeth. That said, we’re more likely to experience oral health issues as we get older. Our dentists at Surdel Dental Centre share tips for ensuring your teeth stay healthy as you age.
It’s an unfortunate truth that as we get older, we’re more likely to face diseases and disorders related to our oral health, from tooth loss, mouth infections and dental decay to oral cancer and gum disease.
But, it’s not a foregone conclusion that you’ll have poor oral health as you enter your late 60s and beyond. By visiting the dentist regularly, maintaining an excellent at-home oral hygiene routine between visits and eating a healthful diet, you will have a much better chance at enjoying healthy teeth for years to come.
Follow these principles to keep your mouth looking and feeling healthy as you enter your golden years.
Keep Wear & Tear to a Minimum
You’ve had your teeth all your life, so they’ve been through decades of everyday chewing, gnawing and crunching - and depending on how much carbonated or acidic food and beverages you’ve eaten over a lifetime - more than a few glasses of pop, bowls of fruit and other things that can be harmful to teeth.
As a result, your teeth probably have some wear and tear, which leaves them more vulnerable to oral bacteria, plaque, cavities, decay, chips and fractures. All of these can compromise the structural integrity of one or many teeth in your mouth.
It’s imperative to prevent bacteria from gaining a foothold and causing decay or disease, so brushing, flossing and regularly scheduled professional cleanings at your dentist’s office become more critical in these years.
You may also consider looking for toothpastes and mouthwashes with ingredients such as fluoride to strengthen your tooth enamel. Finally, break the bad habit of using your teeth on items they were not designed to bite - that means no trimming your fingernails, ripping packages or chewing on pen lids.
A good oral health routine will keep your teeth in good condition, reduce the effects of wear and tear and give your dentist an opportunity to spot any oral health issues or diseases such as oral cancer early, so they can be treated effectively.
Give your gums some TLC
The foundation for healthy teeth is healthy gums, so it’s essential to prevent plaque from building up along the gumline, since this can cause periodontal (gum) disease, leading to the need for oral surgery to treat the condition.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include loose teeth, receding gums and even a deteriorating jawbone. This condition is the primary cause of tooth loss in mature adults.
While aging itself doesn’t cause gum disease, serious symptoms often develop later in life or become more apparent at this stage.
Fortunately, periodontal disease is easily preventable, as is tooth decay. No matter your age, stick to brushing for two minutes twice a day, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly for an oral hygiene exam and professional cleaning.
Another tip: Give your gums some tender, loving care by gently brushing and flossing them, not brushing vigorously as they may be sensitive.