It’s no secret that Americans are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. With our longer life expectancy, there are certain tips that we want to incorporate into our lifestyles to ensure we have an attractive smile into our senior years. Having a good looking smile is about more than being attractive; keeping a healthy mouth affects our overall health outlook. Let’s review good dental practices for seniors who may have bridges or dentures as well as teeth. Check out these tips to maintaining a healthy and attractive smile that is just for seniors.
Maintaining Good Dental Health Over 65
Cavities Are Less of a Concern
Cavities are not the biggest concern for adults. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a common oral health issue that we face. According to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), approximately half of all American adults have some degree of gum disease. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that can be mild, moderate or severe and it affects the gum tissue and bone structure that supports our teeth. If it’s left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. Gum disease has even been linked to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Getting older doesn’t have to mean tooth loss. As you might have noticed, your gums naturally recede away from your teeth as you age. Have you ever heard the saying that someone is “long in tooth”? It’s crucially important to have a regular dental check-up every 6 months to get the hardened plaque removed from below your gumline.
Even if you brush and floss daily, there is still plaque in your mouth that can only be removed by a dental professional. Don’t make the mistake of brushing too hard in an attempt to remove the plaque, as that can brush away your tooth enamel. What should you do instead? Keep up your daily practice of brushing and flossing — and see your dentist twice a year.
We recommend you follow these steps to maintain optimal dental health:
• Brush using a soft or extra soft toothbrush
• Be sure to brush gently for at least 2 minutes
• Brush at least twice a day, morning and night
• Teeth naturally darken as we age, so tooth whitening may help
• Flossing daily is important to overall dental health
If you do have dentures or partial bridges, be sure to clean them using an approved denture cleaner daily. Keeping a daily denture cleaning practice helps to remove bacteria and debris that leads to more advanced gum disease.
Fight Dry Mouth
Drink plenty of water, because we tend to have more dry mouth as we age. Some medications and chronic health conditions can cause us to have dry mouth as we get older. While it’s important for your overall health to drink at least eight 8 oz glasses of water each day, it’s also crucial to maintaining good dental health. Saliva helps acts as a protective barrier in our mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth, be sure to mention it at your next dental visit. We have mouthwashes and other dental products that will help alleviate your symptoms.
Keep A Healthy Smile for Life
If you maintain these good dental hygiene practices, you can enjoy an attractive and healthy smile for years to come. Be sure to see us soon, and we will be happy to discuss ways to help you looking and feeling good in your golden years with preventive dentistry in Mesa AZ.