September hosts Aging Awareness Day. We are all aging to one degree or the other, but what can you expect in terms of your teeth as you age? As you get older, your teeth can show signs of wear and tear. Although you can’t eliminate a lifetime of chewing and grinding, there’s a lot you can do to keep them healthy and strong by following these guidelines.
Good Oral Hygiene
Caring for your teeth and gums requires the same basic principles, at any age.
- Brush with a soft bristle toothbrush, using fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes and rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash
- Floss once a day, preferably at bedtime
- Have Dr. Angela S. Evanson, DDS perform regular professional cleanings twice a year
Take Care of Your Gums
Caring for your gums is also important at any age. Periodontal disease (infection of the structures around the teeth and gums) is the primary cause of tooth loss among older adults. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease, an inflammation of the gums, which naturally recede as you age. Although age isn’t the cause of periodontal disease, without regular checkups with Dr. Evanson, it goes undetected and compounds the problem. Research links periodontal disease to tooth loss, heart disease, stroke, and in some cases, death.
Dental Check-Ups Twice a Year
Even the youngest patients need regular dental checkups. An appointment with Dr. Evanson can help you keep your mouth healthy and avoid problems. One of the most important parts of the dental checkup is a thorough cleaning of your teeth, gums and mouth. If cavities or gum disease are present, a deeper cleaning of the gums may be needed. Routine checkups are usually recommended every 6 months to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy.
Limit Acidic Food in Your Diet
If you are 65 years old, your teeth have been chewing, gnawing and crunching for twenty-four thousand days or so. Although your teeth are strong, they are not indestructible. Exposing your teeth to acidic foods dissolves the protective enamel and when you have weakened enamel, it can expose the inner layer of your teeth. When the inner layer of your tooth is exposed, the nerve center is more exposed and vulnerable. Aging causes your teeth to be more vulnerable and may lead to the need for a root canal or other invasive treatment.
Limit the following:
- Wine and alcohol
- Carbonated beverages
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Pickled products
- Tomato products (pasta sauce, ketchup, salsa and hot sauce)
Healthy foods with low acidity provide the calcium and phosphorus needed to put minerals back in the teeth:
- Mangos, melons, bananas, and apples
- Whole grains
- Fish and lean meats
Medications And Dry Mouth
Aging often means multiple medications, which can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth can lead to irritation of oral tissues and raise your risk for gum disease and tooth decay. New cavities can form within as little as three months after dry mouth begins. Following are a few tips to combat dry mouth:
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless candies.
- Drink more water.
- Limit alcohol and caffeinated beverages that dry out the mouth.
Located in Parker, Dr. Evanson provides quality dental care for children and adults living in Highlands Ranch, Aurora, Castle Rock and Lone Tree. Call our office at (720) 409-0008 or contact us online to make an appointment.
Begin now to care for your aging teeth so you will have lots to smile about when you add another candle to your birthday cake — for many years to come!Leave a reply →