No matter how young or old you may be, maintaining your oral health is important. But you may find yourself wondering if your dental routine needs to change as you age. While it’s true that the passage of years naturally changes conditions in your mouth, it’s still just as important to care for your oral health now as when you were younger.. So whether you have a full set of dentures, a partial set or even all of your original teeth, Russell Street Dental Associates in Worcester, MA 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 aware that products infused with fluoride are often prescribed or recommended to children in order to help build strong, healthy teeth and ward off decay, what is less well known is that fluoride can still help you even if you’re in your 50’s. Research has shown that seniors have an increased risk for cavities, so adding fluoride-infused products to your oral hygiene regimen is a wise idea.
Many toothpastes and mouthwash brands add fluoride to their products to help their customers protect their tooth enamel. As always, brushing at least twice daily and flossing every day are still recommended for older adults. Drinking fluoridated tap water is also recommended to help you protect your tooth enamel against decay as you age. Some dental providers also offer in-office fluoride treatments if your teeth seem to be especially prone to cavities.
Watch Out for Dry Mouth
Although getting older doesn’t mean you will definitely have a dry mouth, certain aspects of aging, such as taking more medications for chronic conditions, can increase your risk for dry mouth. Saliva production is important for good oral health as it naturally washes away food particles and the bacteria that feed on them, helping to prevent tooth decay and cavities. Dry mouth can also negatively affect the fit of your dentures, causing chafing between your gum tissue and your dentures.
If you suffer from dry mouth, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your symptoms. Moisturizing mouthwash or sprays are available over-the-counter to help with this condition as well as sugar-free gum chewing gum, which encourages the production of saliva. Artificial saliva, which closely mimics real saliva, is also an option.
If you find these tips do not help the condition, you can also consult your doctor or dentist. If your dry mouth is caused by medication, adjusting your dose or changing to a different medication may 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 take care of those dentures 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 important for their upkeep.
Brushing your gums and tongue with a soft toothbrush is also recommended to remove any bacteria and food particles from your mouth. If you have partial dentures, be sure to floss between the implants that hold them before you put the dentures back in.
Don’t Forget about Gum Disease
Even if you don’t have all of your real teeth, gum disease remains a serious issue among older adults. However, while it is common, gum disease is not unavoidable for older adults. Maintaining good dental hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly can help you prevent, identify and treat gum disease quickly.
Dental Care for Seniors in Worcester, MA
A healthy smile is beautiful at any age. Keeping up with good oral hygiene habits such as brushing, flossing and drinking water as well as visiting your dentist for routine check-ups will help you keep your smile healthy for years to come. No matter your age, if you’re in the Worcester, MA area and need routine or cosmetic dental care, call (508) 687-6579 or schedule online to see us at Russell Street Dental Associates today.