How to Keep a Healthy Smile into Old Age
Long-term mismanagement of your mouth can result in chronic gum inflammation, usually known as gingivitis (bleeding gums), that will eventually lead to the deterioration of the structures that are the foundations of your mouth and can lead to tooth loss in old age.
One of the biggest myths about aging and oral health is the belief that losing teeth is a normal part of getting older. This is absolutely not true—your teeth should last you a lifetime. The status of your dentition and mouth are paramount to your overall health and will contribute to your overall longevity.
Aging and Risk of Disease
Tooth decay –Usually, our risk of tooth decay is at its highest in our infant and teen years. As people age, with the adult dentition coming into formation, newly forming tooth decay is less likely. However, that’s not to say we don’t need to worry about new holes.
Gum disease – As we age, our risk of gum disease raise. With every birthday, we require to be more and more prudent in monitoring, maintaining, and caring for our gum health.
Oral cancer – The risk of oral cancer rise with age. While heavily influenced by certain lifestyle factors, as we age we need to become particularly vigilant in our screenings for oral cancer.
Dry mouth can be an issue for seniors, which can be connected to medications or medical situation. Saliva carries minerals and immune cells that help to protect the teeth from cavities and infections, so with a reduced flow of saliva, you will be more prone to oral health problems. The balance of calcium in your mouth, which is distributed between teeth and oral bacteria, is in a delicate interplay in your saliva.
Some medical situation is linked to and can affect the oral health of older patients. Some examples include cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Poor oral health can make some situations worse, so it is important to let your dentist know if you have any illnesses, so he or she can take certain factors into account when treating you.
Here are six helpful tips for keeping older teeth in the best shape possible.
Make sure you continue to brush your teeth twice a day, and floss once a day. Brushing and flossing thoroughly provide a great line of defense against plaque, decay and gum disease.
Not only will you be doing your health a huge favor by cutting out sweets and processed carbohydrates, but your teeth will thank you for it too. Avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which is likely to make you crave more sugar and has been associated with weight gain and increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
- Limit Sweet and Starchy Food and Drinks
Both sweet and starchy products are the worst things for your teeth, no matter if you’re young or old. Sugar generates acid that can erode your teeth, and starchy foods cling onto teeth and forms plaque, resulting in a build-up of bacteria.
- Visit Your Dentist Regularly
By visiting your dentist regularly, it can help you to catch any potential dental problems at their earliest stages. If you delay treatment, you may end up with permanent damage.
When you’re at the dental clinic, your dentist can give your teeth a thorough, professional clean, which gets to all the hard spots that you can’t reach and will leave your teeth squeaky clean and your gums nice and healthy.
- If You Smoke, Quit
Smoking can accelerate damage to your teeth and oral tissues by lowering your immune system and reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood. Smokers are particularly prone to gum disease, so combined with the normal aging process, oral health can become a major concern. It’s also a major risk factor in the development of oral cancer.