When it comes to your overall health, many people think about their general physician. Not many consider what their dentist can do for their health. As you age, you become more at risk for certain oral conditions such as attrition, gum disease, and root decay. Oral health can also be linked to other conditions such as heart disease. Seniors must take preventative action to keep their teeth in top form for as long as possible.
If you are wondering what you might need to do to get your oral hygiene in check, here are a few tips.
Get More Calcium
The best thing you can do for your mouth is make sure that you are keeping it strong as you get older. A simple way to ensure that teeth have everything they need is to get enough calcium in your diet. Drinking milk and eating low-fat dairy products can help with this, but you might need more. Make sure you get the recommended 1,000 milligrams that the American Dental Association recommends each day.
Keep Sugar in Check
Do you have an insatiable sweet tooth that you just can’t get under control? Eating sweets like candy, soda, and even sweetened beverages can wreak havoc on your teeth. Make sure to closely monitor how much sugar you are consuming. This can even include snacks that have a high starch content like certain types of cereal or cookies. If you do consume these sugary snacks, make sure that you brush shortly afterward.
Avoid Tobacco Products
Everyone knows that tobacco products are bad for your health. Most people focus in on what they can do to your lungs and esophagus, but perhaps more attention should be paid to the teeth. For example, they cause permanent staining and can lead to even more serious issues than simple cosmetic changes.
Whether you prefer smoking or chewing tobacco, these products are dangerous for your mouth and overall health. They leave you at a greater risk for oral cancer and gum disease. Chewing tobacco can cause even more problems with your teeth because of its sugar content. If you really want to have a healthy mouth, the best thing you can do is eliminate your use of these products.
Eliminate Dry Mouth
Getting older in and of itself does not necessarily mean that you are likely to experience dry mouth, but it is more common among seniors. Dry mouth is a chronic condition that can be caused by a number of medications for other health ailments. Unfortunately, this condition allows acid and plaque to build up on the teeth. This leads to tooth decay and cavities if you aren’t careful.
One option to cure your dry mouth would be to switch to a different medication. If this is not possible, you can still do plenty to keep dry mouth at bay. Increase your water intake, even if you do not feel particularly thirsty. You can also chew on sugar-free gum to increase salivation. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine can also help with dry mouth as these items tend to encourage dehydration.
Routine Checkups and Brushing
Dr. Matthew Kciazkiewicz, owner of Westside Dental Group in Winnipeg, stresses the importance of both routine checkups and frequent brushing. He shared that a simple checkup is a great time to make sure that things are looking good in your mouth, giving you an opportunity to catch major issues early on. Without these checkups, you might wait until it is too late to save a tooth or it might require more extensive dental work.
Regular brushing goes hand in hand with routine checkups. If you are constantly paying attention to the state of your oral health, you are more likely to notice if something is amiss. You should be spending two minutes every morning and evening brushing your pearly white teeth, along with regular flossing between teeth. This helps to get rid of nasty bacteria buildup that can lead to tooth decay and cavities.
Preparing for Good Hygiene as a Senior
Many of the oral health tips found here can apply to people of all ages. However, there are certain aspects of good hygiene that change as people grow older. Seniors must start to think through some difficult topics to ensure that they can be as comfortable as possible with a good hygiene routine. This hygiene guide for seniors poses a lot of great questions that you might want to consider.
Oral health is important for seniors because the mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. Make sure that you are taking good care of your teeth and gums now so that you can stay healthy for as long as possible. These tips should make it a bit easier for you to get a handle on your oral health.