Whether you are 5 or 55, maintaining your oral health is important. But you may be wondering if your dental routine needs to be adjusted as you grow older. It’s a fact that the passage of time changes conditions in your mouth. Even if you have a full set of dentures, a partial set or even all of your original teeth, it’s every bit as important to take proper care of your oral health now as when you were younger. Dr. Engelberg of AH Smiles 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
While most people are familiar with the fluoride-infused products recommended to children in order to help build strong, healthy teeth and ward off decay, these can still be helpful even if you’re in your 50’s. Studies have shown that older individuals have an increased risk for cavities, making the addition of products with fluoride to your daily routine a good idea.
Many toothpastes and mouthwash brands add fluoride to their products as added protection for their consumers’ teeth. As always, brushing at least twice daily and flossing daily should still be the order of the day for older adults. Drinking fluoridated tap water is also recommended to help you protect your tooth enamel against decay as you age. Finally, some dentists offer in-office fluoride treatments if you have had difficulty preventing cavities lately.
Watch Out for Dry Mouth
Although getting older doesn’t mean you are more likely to have dry mouth, certain aspects of aging, such as taking more medications for chronic conditions, can make you more likely to have a dry mouth. Saliva production is vital to good oral health as it naturally washes away food particles and the bacteria that feed on them, preventing tooth decay and cavities. Dry mouth can also negatively impact the fit of your dentures, causing chafing between your gums and your dentures.
If you find that you have a dry mouth, there are a few options to help you restore the balance in your mouth. Moisturizing mouthwashes and sprays are available to help with this condition. Chewing sugar-free gum can also encourage the production of saliva. Artificial saliva, which closely mimics real saliva, is also available to help with this condition.
If you find these products do not help, you can also consult your doctor or dentist. If your dry mouth is caused by medication, adjusting your dose or trying a different medicine altogether 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 if you have dentures, it’s still important to care for them 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 crucial for their upkeep.
Brushing your gums and tongue with a soft toothbrush is also suggested to remove any bacteria and food particles from your mouth. If you have implant-secured dentures, be sure to floss around the implants that hold them. Dr. Engelberg or your area dentist 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
Whether or not you have all of your natural teeth, gum disease remains a serious issue among older adults. However, while it is common, gum disease isn’t an inescapable part of getting older. 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 Arlington Heights, IL
A healthy smile promotes confidence at any age. Keeping up with good hygiene habits, visiting your dentist for routine check-ups and making changes to your routine as your body needs them will help you keep your smile healthy for years to come. No matter your age, if you’re in the Arlington Heights/Chicago area and need routine or cosmetic dental care, call (847) 230-9703 or schedule online to see Dr. Engelberg at AH Smiles today.