Coping with Oral and Dental Health Changes As You Age
Good oral care should begin when you’re young and continue for a lifetime. If you’re struggling to maintain a beautiful smile as you age, you’re not alone. Consider the oral and dental health challenges that older adults face, along with helpful tips for keeping your smile healthy.
Age-Related Dental Problems
Your body and health changes when you get older, which makes you more prone to the following conditions:
- Cavities: Your cavity risk increases with age because dry mouth can cause cavities, and dry mouth is a common side effect of medications prescribed to treat age-related ailments. Before you start taking a new medication, ask your doctor if it causes dry mouth.
- Receding gums: Failing to brush and floss every day may cause your gums to recede as you get older.
- Aesthetic changes: Over the years, gravity causes overcrowding of the dental arches. Teeth shift and overlap, making them more difficult to clean. Pits, cracks, and chips caused by years of wear and tear also alter the appearance of your smile.
- Oral cancer: Tobacco and alcohol use can increase the risk of cancer in the mouth and throat. Years of partaking in these unhealthy habits may catch up to you when you get older.
How to Maintain a Healthy Smile as You Age
Getting older doesn’t mean you have to lose your teeth. Avoid tooth and gum problems with these tips:
- Brush and floss: Brush with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush twice a day, and floss once a day. If you have arthritis, an electric toothbrush could be a more comfortable option. Floss picks, interdental brushes, and water flossers are also good alternatives to traditional floss.
- Clean your dentures: If you wear full or partial dentures, remove and clean them every night.
- Eat well: Sugar causes cavities no matter your age. Avoid sweets and eat more fruits and vegetables to minimize tooth decay and oral cancer risk.
- Check your mouth for anything unusual: If you see white splotches, lesions, or other concerns, have them checked out. It’s probably nothing, but if it’s oral cancer, catching it early is vital for treatment to be effective.
- Monitor your overall health: The body and the mouth are intricately connected. Keep an eye on all aspects of your health to keep your mouth and body healthy.
- Quit smoking and drinking: Strive to give up bad habits like drinking, smoking, and chewing tobacco to preserve healthy teeth and gums.
- Visit the dentist: A routine cleaning two to four times a year can do wonders for your smile as you age. It’s also an opportunity to find and correct problems early to avoid losing your teeth.
You’re never too old to have a beautiful, healthy smile! If you’re concerned about your teeth and gums as you get older, contact Glenwood Premier Dental at (732) 264-4477 to schedule an appointment. We offer the restorative treatments you need to get your smile back on track.