Good hygiene and good oral habits are important at any age. However, as you get older, you’ll wonder if your oral routine needs tweaking, or if certain changes in your life have caused changes in your mouth. Whether you have all of your teeth, just a few, or full dentures, diligent care of your mouth is just as important when you’re old as when you were a child.
Fluoride is still important
Fluoride is not just for children. Even if you are over 50, it is still important to protect the surface of your teeth and prevent cavities. Brush your teeth twice a day and use fluoride toothpaste. If you are particularly susceptible to cavities, or if you have had several as you age, your dentist may also prescribe fluoride treatment at home, for better protection.
Protect yourself from dry mouth
Although getting older does not necessarily increase the possibility of having dry mouth, certain characteristics of age, in particular taking regular medications or certain chronic diseases, can increase the risk of dry mouth, or cavities. .
If you have dry mouth, it is possible to improve certain aspects of your oral hygiene to reduce the symptoms. You can use mouthwash or moisturizing spray, or chew sugar-free gum, which encourages saliva production. You can also use an artificial saliva product, often available in pharmacies without a prescription.
See your doctor if your medications are the cause of your dry mouth. By adjusting the dosage or trying a new medicine, it can eliminate some symptoms.
Take care of your dentures
It is important to maintain your dentures as well as your own teeth. Use a toothpaste made specifically for dentures, and be sure to clean them daily. Also clean your gums and tongue with a soft toothbrush, to remove bacteria and food debris from your mouth. If you wear a partial denture, be sure to floss between the implants before replacing the denture. Your dentist can give you some specific instructions for properly caring for your dentures, so that they last as long as possible.
Don’t forget gum disease
Whether or not you have all your teeth, gum disease remains a significant problem among older adults. A study published in the Journal of Dental Research found that approximately 64% of adults over the age of 65 suffered from severe or moderate periodontitis in 2009 and 2010. Although common, gum disease does not have to be a consequence of aging. Maintaining good oral hygiene and making regular appointments with the dentist can prevent it or treat it quickly.
A healthy smile is radiant at any age. Observing good oral hygiene, making regular dental appointments and making a few changes to your oral routine can help you maintain a radiant smile for life.