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As we age, our health needs change and our bodies – including our teeth – become a little more vulnerable to damage.

From exercise to eating healthier, the right lifestyle choices can really make a positive difference. This goes for our dental health, too. As we age, we need to take better care of our teeth in order to keep them strong and in good condition. Unfortunately, tooth-related health issues tend to affect older adults at higher rates. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • About 2 in 3 (68%) of adults aged 65 years or older have gum disease. 
  • Nearly 1 in 5 adults aged 65 years or older have lost all of their teeth. Missing teeth can have a direct effect on nutrition.

Thankfully, there’s plenty we can do to better protect ourselves.

Let your McAllen dentists at WhiteWing Dental give you some insight on some of the best dental tools older adults can use to best protect their pearly whites. 

The Tools You Need for a Brilliant Smile

 

1. Use Mouthwash for Whiter Teeth

Mouthwashes which include hydrogen peroxide can be just as effective as whitening gel or strips. You can even use good old fashioned baking soda to help remove stains.

If you’re looking for a professionally done tooth whitening services, WhiteWing Dental offers just the thing.

2. Electric Toothbrushes Are Amazing

Clinical studies have shown that over time, electric toothbrushes reduce plaque 21 percent better than manual toothbrushes. If you are looking to purchase one, you should look for a powered brush with a round, oscillating head. 

Also, make sure the toothbrush features both a built-in two-minute timer, as well as a pressure sensor. Additional studies have found that the oscillating head produced significantly greater reductions in both plaque and gingivitis when compared to a unit with a vibrating head.

3. Soft Bristles Are the Way to Go

If you prefer manual toothbrushes, there are a few things to remember. The ideal brush has soft or extra-soft bristles. Any other grade may hurt your gums and fail to properly remove plaque. 

Also, the brush should have angled or multi-level bristles, as they have a better reach along the gum line and in-between the teeth. 

4. The Right Toothpaste Can Really Make a Difference

Let’s look at another crucial component, toothpaste. If you’re suffering from gingivitis and/or bleeding gums, find a toothpaste that contains stannous fluoride. 

 If your teeth are sensitive, studies have shown that by incorporating toothpaste or mouthwash that contains potassium nitrate into your daily dental care, you can effectively decrease sensitivity. It’s also in your best interest to avoid abrasive charcoal-based toothpastes and so-called “natural” ones as well. The former can cause more problems for those with sensitive teeth and the latter just isn’t as effective at fighting plaque. 

5. Stop Bad Breath in Its Tracks

Find a mouthwash that contains the active ingredients chlorhexidine, chlorine dioxide, and cetylpyridinium chloride. Also, try ones enhanced with essential oils like eucalyptol, menthol, thymol, and methyl salicylate. To fight gingivitis, make sure you find mouthwashes that include the ingredients cetylpyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine. The extra fluoride will definitely help in your fight against cavities. 

6. Don’t Forget About Flossing

One dental tool that’s often overlooked in our quest for that perfect smile is floss. As our McAllen dentist will tell you, this is possibly the most vital piece in your dental care routine. For older adults, the best floss is thicker, more rigid floss.

While thinner, slicker floss might be easier to manipulate, it won’t snag food debris like a thicker floss. Now, if you want to go all the way and get a water flosser, you’d need to grab a unit that delivers water pressure of 50 to 90 pounds per square inch (psi).  Both healthy and inflamed gum tissue can withstand this without any problems. 

While all these tools are essential for a healthy mouth, never overlook the importance of a trip to the dentist. Regularly scheduled cleanings can help to remove unwanted plaque and debris while also helping to prevent further issues from developing. 

Hopefully, you’ve found some great info here in your search for better dental health. Here’s to continued sparkling smiles and healthy gums. 

Contact us today at (956) 686-5577 to schedule an oral examination and cleaning with our dentist in McAllen.