How to Take Care of Your Teeth and Gums as You Age
Your teeth are meant to last for a lifetime, but it takes some work to maintain your beautiful smile. The aging process takes its toll on your teeth, and everything that you eat or drink has the potential to generate cavities or leave embarrassing stains behind. Your risk for developing gum disease also goes up with age. Fortunately, you can prevent many of the oral health problems that come with aging by following these simple tips.
Try New Oral Hygiene Methods
Aging may cause you to struggle with certain parts of your oral hygiene routine. For instance, you might not be able to hold your dental floss well if you have severe arthritis. Try using a different type of hygiene product or technique to overcome new challenges. You can use a toothbrush with a strap if you tend to drop yours due to shaking hands. A water flosser is also great if you are unable to manipulate string floss well.
Schedule Regular Dental Visits
You might have been able to tempt fate by skipping dental appointments during your youth. However, you don’t want to try this now. As you age, certain health conditions, such as diabetes can impact your gum health, and many common dental issues get worse due to changes in your body’s ability to heal as quickly as it used to. Make sure to see your dentist at least every six months, and ask if you need to drop in for visits more often. More frequent cleanings and exams can help you avoid new dental health issues from happening.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Your diet plays a role in how your teeth and gums age. For example, you need to avoid acidic foods such as those that are high in sugar because they increase the risk of decay. You might also want to increase your intake of calcium to give your teeth a boost. When possible, drink water instead of sugary drinks. Eating fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C can also help to prevent gum disease.
Fix Small Problems Early
Over the years, you might have accumulated a few fillings and crowns. You might even have a set of dentures or implants. These are all important ways to preserve your oral health, yet fillings and other restorations can break or develop problems. During your regular dental visits, find out if you need to have fillings or crowns replaced. You can also get your dentures and implants checked to make sure that they aren’t irritating your gums. Taking care of these minor issues can prevent bigger ones from occurring in the future.
You’ve got many years left to go around flashing your smile. While you do need to pay more attention to your teeth and gums as you age, the truth is that you should be doing many of these things anyway. With regular toothbrushing, flossing and professional cleanings, you can expect to be smiling with confidence well into your later years.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan