How to keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime.
As we get older, it becomes increasingly important to take good care of our teeth and to maintain great oral health. After all, without any doubt, the health of our mouth has a great effect on our whole body. As we age, our teeth and mouth also change. The nerves in teeth may become smaller and shrink, making teeth less sensitive to tooth decay or other dental problems. If unnoticed and untreated, this can allow cavities to progress without any symptoms, and lead to problems that can cause loss of teeth due to decay or gum disease.
Many people think that losing teeth is an inevitable part of the aging process; however – when cared for properly, your teeth can last a lifetime! Below are a few tips on how to age-proof your smile and keep your teeth healthy – for life.
Practice great oral hygiene techniques at home.
- Brush your teeth twice a day (we recommend a soft bristled electric toothbrush like Sonicare or OralB) to remove cavity-causing sticky bacterial plaque from teeth surfaces.
- Floss daily to remove plaque from in between the teeth and in areas that cannot be reached by brushing – this helps prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
- Use an oral irrigator like the Hydrofloss or WaterPik – this helps remove plaque from under the gums and in between the teeth in areas where a toothbrush alone cannot reach.
- Clean your tongue with a tongue cleaner to remove the odor causing bacterial build up.
Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings.
Seeing your dentist regularly helps keep your smile bright and your teeth healthy. Many dental conditions are asymptomatic – they go unnoticed. Your dentist will check for any problems that you may not see or feel, such as gum disease, cavities, and oral cancer. Identifying early signs of problems and prophylactic care is the most conservative approach in preventing extensive and costly treatment in the future.
Replace any missing teeth. There several potential causes of missing teeth, including trauma, tooth decay, and gum disease. When a tooth is missing, other teeth may shift, causing further problems with bone and gum support. This may lead to further bone loss and subsequent loss of more teeth. In addition, loss of teeth may lead to more pressure being exerted on the remaining teeth which can lead to tooth fracture. It is very important to replace any missing teeth with dental implants or other restorations – so if you’re missing one or more teeth, give your dentist a call to discuss the options available for teeth replacement.
Drink lots of water throughout the day.
Dry mouth is one of the conditions that may contribute to tooth decay, so drinking a lot of water allows you to stay well hydrated, and generates saliva that prevents the bacteria from sticking to teeth. In addition, drinking water helps in washing away any remnants of food, which also helps prevent decay, so make sure to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water daily.
Talk to your dentist about any medications you’re taking.
Certain medications may cause xerostomia, or dry mouth – a condition that may lead to tooth decay. It is very important that you tell your dentist if you’re experiencing any symptoms of dry mouth – there are several possible treatments for this problem so make sure you let your dentist know – they will come up with a plan to help with the symptoms of dry mouth and prevent dental complications in the future.
Eat healthy, nutritious foods. Crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots, and celery help clean the plaque off teeth and freshen breath. Green, leafy vegetables contain antioxidant vitamins, such as Vitamin C, that help protect gums and other tissues from infection, so make sure to add a lot of fruits and vegetables to your diet. Limit frequent snacking on high sugar or high carbohydrate foods that promote tooth decay, and avoid drinks are high in acid content – this may lead to teeth erosion and compromise the health of teeth.
If you snore or grind your teeth, or you’re waking up with jaw pain or headaches in the morning – see your dentist or your medical doctor for treatment. Snoring and grinding could be signs of an airway obstruction problem, or a medical condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea. In addition, grinding your teeth can cause severe wear and fracture of your teeth.
Remember – conservative, preventive care and regular dental visits are the key to keeping your teeth healthy for a lifetime!