Aging can come with its set of perks — and challenges. Oral health is one of them.
As we age, certain dental problems are likely to increase. In fact, a recent University of Michigan poll found that 40% of people ages 50-64 don’t get regular dental care.
The truth is – no matter what age you are, dental care is a health issue AND a quality-of-life issue. If the appearance of your teeth, or health of your teeth, starts to go downhill — other parts of your life will suffer as well, including your health, work, and social life.
Here are some tips on how to keep teeth healthier longer — especially as we get older.
Dealing With Plaque Buildup
You might have a harder time removing plaque as you get older. Why? Because as bone recedes, the space between teeth may change, and that increases the likelihood for food to collect between teeth.
Arthritis in hands and fingers also can make it tough to floss away these bits, but devices such as inter-dental brushes, floss picks, and water flossers can help with tooth care.
Fighting Gum Disease
As gums recede with age, more of your teeth’s root surfaces are exposed. Because root surfaces are less decay-resistant than tooth enamel, you could see more cavities.
In addition to daily brushing and flossing, I recommend rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash for good tooth care. If gums continue receding, you may need more frequent dental appointments for root planing and scaling.
Experiencing a sharp pain when a hot or cold liquid touches a tooth is often an early sign of a cavity.
If it’s not cavity-related—tooth sensitivity can also occur when root surfaces are exposed—consider using a toothpaste or rinse formulated to reduce sensitivity.
Saliva not only keeps your mouth comfortably moist but also bathes teeth—which helps prevent bacteria buildup.
Age alone won’t necessarily make your mouth drier, but many medications can.
Sipping water frequently, chewing sugar-free gum, and avoiding mouthwashes that contain alcohol can help.
Bridge and Implant Problems
Fixed bridges and dentures may trap food and bacteria, leading to decay. Drugstore products called floss threaders let you floss under a bridge. Water flossers also let you clean these hard-to-reach spaces.
And for overall good tooth care, be sure to sure to keep up with regular dental exams at least every 6 months.
In addition, don’t delay on dental problems that cause pain or concern. Unfortunately, things can deteriorate more quickly at 70 than they do at 20.
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THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental reconstruction and TMJ/Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.