When life expectancy was about 30 years—and teeth weren't exposed to all the added sugar they are today—oral hygiene was rarely an issue. Nowadays, though, the average life expectancy is 78, which means smiles have to put up with a lot more than they used to. Because of decades of wear and tear, today’s seniors are especially vulnerable to oral health issues. If you follow a few simple tips, though, it may be possible to maintain your pearly whites well into your golden years.
Keep These Dental Care Tips in Mind as You Age
1. Facilitate Saliva Production
As the body ages, it’s natural for the salivary glands to produce less saliva. Coupled with certain medications, cancer therapy, tobacco use, nerve damage, or Alzheimer’s disease, this can lead to chronic dry mouth. Since saliva is responsible for rinsing the teeth of food particles and bacteria, those with dry mouth are more likely to develop dental issues.
If you’re concerned about saliva production, drink plenty of water, chew sugar-free gum, and limit your intake of alcohol. It may also be worth asking your primary care provider about changing medications if anything you take happens to cause dry mouth.
2. Swish With an Antibacterial Rinse
Brushing and flossing are the pillars of good oral hygiene, but for an added layer of protection, use an antibacterial mouthwash every day. This will help prevent any plaque and tartar you miss during brushing and flossing from accumulating on the teeth, thereby protecting the gums from gingivitis and gum disease.
3. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
It’s easy to fall off a regular teeth cleaning schedule, especially if you have so many other doctor’s appointments to remember. However, visiting your dentist regularly is just as important for your overall health as it is for your teeth. There’s a direct link between oral health and general health that cannot be overstated. Undergoing periodic exams will also give your dentist the opportunity to treat minor issues before they turn into major concerns.
William B. Collier Jr., DMD is a friendly family dentist who’s equipped to care for patients at all stages of life. Practicing out of Enterprise, AL, he has more than 35 years of experience in the dental field. Whether you need a simple teeth cleaning or a denture fitting, his friendly team will make you feel at ease from the moment you walk in the door. To explore all the services they provide, visit their website. To make an appointment, call (334) 347-5026.