Having good oral health is important no matter what age you are, but you may need to change your dental routine as you grow older. It’s a scientific fact that conditions in our mouths change with the passage of time. So no matter if you have a partial or full set of dentures, it’s just as important to care for your smile properly now as it was when you were younger.
AH Smiles, a respected dental practice in Arlington Heights, IL, wants to make you aware of these tips for keeping up with your oral health once you’re over 55.
Fluoride Is Still Important for Your Oral Health
While everyone knows that products infused with fluoride are often recommended by dentists and dental advertising to children in order to help build strong, healthy teeth and ward off decay, fluoride can still help you even if you’re in your 50’s. Studies show that older individuals have an increased risk for cavities, so adding products with fluoride to your daily hygiene regimen is a good idea.
Many toothpaste and mouthwash manufacturers add fluoride to their products to attract calcium to tooth enamel and strengthen it. However, even with added fluoride, you should still brush your teeth at least twice daily and also floss daily. Drinking fluoridated tap water can be an another level of protection against tooth decay for your aging enamel against decay. Many dental providers also offer in-office fluoride treatments if you seem especially prone to cavities.
Watch Out for Dry Mouth
While getting older doesn’t mean you’re definitely going to develop dry mouth. However, taking more medications for chronic conditions as older people often do, can make your risk for dry mouth increase. Saliva production is important to oral health as it naturally washes away food particles and bacteria that lead to tooth decay and cavities. Dry mouth can also negatively impact how your dentures fit, causing chafing between your gums and your dentures.
If you suffer from dry mouth, there are a few changes to your lifestyle you can make to reduce your symptoms. Moisturizing mouthwash or sprays are available to help with this condition as well as sugar-free gum, as chewing it will encourage the production of saliva. Artificial saliva, which feels like real saliva, is also available.
If you find these steps do not help the condition, you can also consult your doctor or dentist. If your doctor or dentist believes that your dry mouth is caused by 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 Americans are missing at least one tooth, and a large percentage of this total are senior citizens. Even if you already have replaced your missing natural teeth with dentures, it’s still vital to care for those dentures and the gum tissue that support them. AH Smiles recommends using a toothpaste that is specially made for cleaning dentures as this should be a daily part of their maintenance.
Brushing your gums and tongue regularly with a soft toothbrush is also recommended to remove any bacteria and food particles from your mouth. If you have partial or implant-secured dentures, be sure to floss around the dental implants that hold them before you put the dentures back in. AH Smiles or your area dental provider can give you a list of specific instructions on caring for your dentures to make sure they last you as long as possible.
Don’t Forget about Gum Disease
Even if you no longer have all of your real teeth like many older adults, gum disease remains a threat to your oral heath. However, although it is a common ailment, developing gum disease doesn’t have to be just another part of the business of getting older. Maintaining good dental hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly can help you prevent it, identify it and treat it quickly.
Oral Health Care for Seniors in Arlington Heights, IL
A healthy smile is important at any age. Keeping up with good oral hygiene habits, visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and making changes to your routine as your body needs them can help you keep your smile healthy for years to come.
No matter your age, if you’re in the Arlington Heights, IL area and need routine or cosmetic dental care, call (847) 230-9703 or schedule an appointment online to see an AH Smiles dentist today.