Your oral health matters as you age, and it is possible to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile even when you are advancing in years. Letting your smile go is a bad idea, especially as your mouth become more vulnerable to cavities as you age.
One of the main reasons cavities are more frequent with age is due to dry mouth. This condition often occurs as a side effect of taking prescription medications. Healthy saliva flow is vital for a healthy oral environment and can be stimulated by staying hydrated, avoiding diuretics, chewing sugarless gum and mints, and if necessary, using prescribed saliva drops.
In addition to healthy levels of saliva, be sure to do the following for a lifetime of good oral health:
–Brushing: use an ADA-approved toothpaste with fluoride to keep your tooth enamel strong. Also, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect tooth enamel and gum health. Medium or firm bristles can contribute to receding gums and worn tooth enamel, especially if you are not gentle while brushing. When the bristles become worn, buy a new toothbrush (or toothbrush head, if you are using an electric toothbrush).
–Flossing: the next step in protecting your oral health is to floss between teeth and along the gumline. This removes plaque and food particles in those places where your toothbrush can’t. Choose a flossing method that works most effectively for you: dental floss, dental picks, oral irrigators, etc.
–Denture Care: dentures require daily cleaning just like your teeth and gums do. This helps maintain a healthy oral environment. No matter whether you have partial or full dentures, clean them daily using only cleaners designed for denture care. And finally, be sure to remove your dentures daily for the time period recommended by our dentist.
–Dental Exams: Annual professional dental cleanings and exams will support all your daily efforts to keep your smile in good shape. As you age, the nerves inside the tooth pulp become smaller and less sensitive, so you might not feel pain warning you about decay or gum disease. In addition to gum disease, we will also check for signs of oral cancer, which often go undetected because it doesn’t always cause pain until it has advanced.
Our dental exams are most effective when you let us know which medications you are currently taking, including any over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements. It will also help us to know of any allergies you have, or any medical conditions you are being treated for. And finally, if you have dentures, please bring them in for your exam.
Dr. Elliot Einbinder and our Wellwood Family Dentistry team in Pikesville, Maryland are here to help you maintain your oral health for a lifetime of smiles. If you have any questions, concerns, or need to schedule a visit, please call us at 410.486.3898 today!