As you get older, there is a greater risk for dental issues like tooth decay and loss, gum disease, and oral cancer. However, with proper care, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a healthy mouth for years to come!
September is Healthy Aging Month and your dependable McAllen dentists at Whitewing Dental think it’s the perfect time to give you 6 tips for healthy teeth as you age.
Keeping Your Teeth Strong as You Age
1. Brush and Floss Regularly
Unfortunately, it is easier to develop cavities as you age, so it is important that you stay on top of brushing and flossing. It is recommended that you brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste containing fluoride.
When it comes to flossing, you should clean between your teeth at least once a day using floss or a water flosser.
If you are dealing with arthritis or other health conditions that make brushing and flossing difficult, we suggest trying an electric toothbrush and waterpik for easy oral care.
2. Treat Dry Mouth
As you age, certain medications and health conditions can cause your mouth to dry out. When this happens, there is less saliva in your mouth and you are at a greater risk of bacteria and food particles hanging around.
To properly manage dry mouth, we recommend that you:
- Stay hydrated
- Use alcohol-free mouthwashes
- Avoid wearing dentures at night
- Use a humidifier in your home to add moisture back into the air
3. Maintain Healthy Gums
If your gums are not taken care of properly, then your teeth will most likely follow suit. To ensure good gum health, it is important to stay on top of brushing and flossing and to see your dentist for regular cleanings.
Call and schedule an appointment if you have the following symptoms:
- Sore gums
- Swollen gums
4. Stop Smoking
Smoking creates a host of problems for your dental health. According to the CDC, those who smoke are twice as likely to develop gum disease than those who do not smoke. This happens because smoking tends to dry out your mouth, leading to a buildup of bacteria and damage to your gums. Smoking also puts you at risk for tooth decay, oral cancer, and ulcers.
The best way to avoid those dental issues is to quit smoking altogether. There are many resources from the CDC that are available for those looking to give up smoking.
5. Watch for Signs of Oral Cancer
The best way to stay ahead of possible cancer in your mouth, throat, and tongue is to know what to look out for. Each year, the American Cancer Society reports 35,000 cases of oral cancer, and in many cases, the initial signs are subtle.
Keeping up with regular dental visits allows your dentist to check for signs, but at home, you should look for red or white patches or lumps inside the mouth, lip, or tongue that do not disappear after two weeks.
It can be nerve-wracking to think about, but if caught early, oral cancer is highly treatable.
6. Keep Your Regular Dental Check-Ups
No matter your age, it is important that you see your dentist at least twice a year for regular cleanings and check-ups. This will help you stay on top of cavities or possible gum issues.
As the years go by, you begin taking more medications, which can affect your dental health. Be sure to keep your dentist in the loop so that they can adjust as needed and give you the proper care.
Don’t Let Age Define Your Dental Health! Schedule an Appointment With Your Dentists at Whitewing Dental!
As the years go by, it can be easy to blame dental issues on your age. Studies have shown, however, that proper dental care can strengthen your teeth and defy the effects of aging!