While many basic skills can be mastered at a young age, we spend a lifetime perfecting them and honing our own ways to best navigate through life. Our parents instill in us a foundation of caring for ourselves and we learn more and more as we get older, move out on our own, and care for ourselves. As we begin to enter older age, many of the skills we picked up early on will need to be tweaked and adjusted to fit into our lives as our bodies change and our health may wane. When it comes to oral health, age comes with definite adjustments that must be made to ensure we continue to feel our best and take adequate care of our teeth and gums.
1. Keep on top of dry mouth.
While simply aging does not necessarily increase your likelihood of experiencing dry mouth, there are environmental factors associated with age that may increase its presence. Medications are often culprits for dry mouth, so discuss these possible side effects with your doctor before starting any new medication. A lack of saliva in the mouth is a direct contributor to tooth decay, cavities, and eventual tooth loss. To keep your mouth healthy, you can try incorporating a moistening mouthwash or rinse to help alleviate the symptoms. Additionally, chewing sugar-free gum and staying adequately hydrated are great ways to help ensure your mouth stays comfortably moist.
2. Continue your use of fluoride.
While some people think of fluoride as a mineral for children, this could not be further from the truth! Aging adults are more likely than the rest of the population to experience tooth decay and fluoride is one of your best defenses against cavities and rot. Fluoride helps to strengthen your enamel, so ensure that you are using a fluoride toothpaste when you brush twice daily and talk to your dentist about whether you ought to incorporate a fluoride rinse into your routine.
3. Gum disease should be on your radar.
More than 6 in 10 retirement age adults in America suffer from some form of gum disease, but this does not need to be the case! Continue your regimen of flossing daily, brushing, and visiting your dentist as needed for routine checkups. Tooth loss is a direct result of gum disease but losing your teeth does not need to be a given that comes with age if you are diligent about caring for your mouth.
Maintaining your oral health is important at any age, but it can get trickier as we move along in our years. If you’re getting older and you have questions about how to best be caring for your dental health, it is never too early to consult your dentist on how you can be proactive about your oral hygiene!
To schedule your next appointment, give us a call at any of our Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics locations, such as our Shorewood dental office today!