Oral care can sometimes become more difficult as you age. What may have been sufficient in the past may not be enough to keep your teeth and mouth healthy throughout your lifetime. Aging brings about changes, such as a higher risk of health issues, an increase in medications you may take, and lifestyle changes. As a result, you’ll need to pay more attention to your oral health than you may have done in years past.
The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to help protect your teeth from the effects of aging. Try these 4 tips to keep your teeth healthy as you get older.
1. Visit Your Dentist
It is even more important as you age to keep up with your regular dental visits. If you aren’t currently going to the dentist for cleanings every 6 months, you should absolutely start now. Some people stop going to the dentist after they retire and no longer have dental insurance. Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover dental care, but you can purchase insurance plans through AARP and other providers.
Your teeth, just like the other bones in your body, will weaken as you age. You’ve had those same teeth in place for many years and the long term toll of chewing, grinding teeth, and diet will wear on them. Professional dental cleanings and exams are more important than ever before in your life.
2. Upgrade Your Home Dental Tools
Are you still using a manual toothbrush? As you age you may find it difficult to brush your teeth as effectively with a manual brush. If you have more frequent cavities or gum issues than you’re used to having, it could be helpful to upgrade to an electric toothbrush. Advanced technology has made electric toothbrushes nearly as effective as professional dental tools for removing plaque from teeth. Ask your dentist for a recommendation on the best brand to purchase.
You may also consider purchasing a waterpik for getting to those hard to reach places like between your teeth and around dental work such as implants or bridges. A waterpik can clean between teeth as well as flossing.
3. Be Aware of the Risks Associated with Your Medications
Some types of medications can increase your risk of dental issues, such as those that cause dry mouth, which includes nearly 500 common medications. A dry mouth allows bacteria to thrive and increase your chances of developing cavities. Drugs that are calcium-channel blockers or anti-seizure meds can put you at a greater risk for periodontal (gum) disease.
Another unfortunate side effect of aging and medications is that the nerves in your mouth become desensitized, meaning you are less likely to be aware of a problem with your teeth or gums because you may not feel as much pain. This is another reason that keeping up with your regular dental appointments is crucial.
4. Avoid Habits that are Bad for Your Teeth
While it’s best to avoid bad habits all the time, it becomes even more important as you age and your teeth are more susceptible to decay. Avoid smoking, consuming sugar, and chewing tobacco. If you can’t give up these things, at least brush your teeth afterwards. Not only are tobacco products bad for your teeth, they increase your chances of oral cancer and other cancers.
Oakdale Dental Associates Want to Help You Keep Your Teeth for Life
When you take care of your teeth they can last for your entire life. Unfortunately, some patients care for their teeth well all their lives only to let aging get the best of them. Don’t give up on good oral hygiene. You can enjoy healthy teeth as you age by following just these 4 tips.