REASONS TO FOCUS ON YOUR ORAL HEALTH AS YOU GET OLDER
Growing older can be a fantastic time in your life — you finally spend time with your friends and family and explore exciting spots around the world. Enjoy more of your senior years by taking action to prevent common oral health conditions that may slow you down. After the age of 55, you are at greater risk for many issues (including tooth decay, dry mouth, and gum disease), but these can be avoided with a good dental cleaning routine at home along with regular trips to your dentist in Monaca, PA. To help prepare you for how your oral health changes as you get older, our staff at DentalWorks - Beaver Valley lists some of the most common concerns we see in men and women over 55 years old and ways you can boost your oral health so you avoid these problems.
COMMON DENTAL CONCERNS IN ADULTS OVER 55
- DRY MOUTH
Lots of people notice their mouth becomes drier after age 55. It isn't your imagination; dry mouth is often a side effect of many medications and cancer treatments (chemotherapy and radiation). When your doctor prescribes a medication, ask if dry mouth is a common side effect. If it is, make sure you start drinking more water and chewing sugar-free gum, which stimulates the natural production of saliva.
- PERIODONTAL DISEASE
If you didn't develop good oral hygiene habits during your younger years, it's probably going to become a problem for you. Older adults are at greater risk of developing gum disease, which is caused by built-up plaque and bacteria under the gumline. Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, could include visible symptoms like red, swollen, or bleeding gums.
- WORN DOWN TEETH
Also known as attrition, all the years of chewing and biting grinds down the enamel. This can lead to dental sensitivity and increase your risk of developing cavities plus other dental problems. It might help preserve your enamel to switch to a soft-bristle toothbrush and keep the pressure light when you're brushing.
- DECAYED TEETH
Brushing and flossing every day along with regular visits to your dentist can minimize the opportunity for tooth decay. However, in case you haven't been doing this, you might be left with tooth decay and associate problems that you'll need to deal with now. If you don't get it treated, decay turns into a cavity, which could eventually destroy your whole tooth and spread to your other teeth. If your tooth is discolored (yellow or gray) and feels sensitive or loose, schedule an appointment with your dentist to have your tooth treated.
It may seem like your teeth feel sensitive as you get older. Sensitivity is often the result of damaged enamel along with untreated issues (for example, a cracked tooth). If you are noticing a sharp pain when you eat or drink something that is especially hot or cold, talk to your dentist about possible underlying problems that might be the reason your teeth are sensitive and ways to strengthen your enamel.
- LOSING TEETH
The older you get, the higher your chances become of losing at least one tooth. You could lose one tooth due to an injury, several due to an oral health condition, or all your teeth because of poor oral care. If you lose a tooth (or many), talk to your dentist in Monaca, PA for information on restoration options. You may be a good candidate for bridge or dentures or a restoration supported by an implant.
WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR ORAL HEALTH
- QUIT TOBACCO
You can find a million other reasons to quit, but chewing or smoking tobacco has a negative impact on your oral (and overall) health. Talk to your doctor about tobacco cessation methods that may help you quit using tobacco. E-cigarettes can also be damaging to your dental health, both with and without tobacco.
- KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED
One tip that is good for your oral and overall health is drinking enough water during the day. This helps keep your mouth from getting dry and rinses away bacteria when you can't brush your teeth. Tap water is usually preferable instead of bottled water since most cities add fluoride, which helps to protect your teeth. Try to limit sodas and coffee as it can stain your teeth and the acid damages your enamel.
- PROFESSIONAL DENTAL CARE
Visit a board-certified dentist in Monaca, PA at least twice a year for an oral health examination and professional cleaning. These visits give your dentist the opportunity to catch any problems early (for example, cavities and gum disease), which means you have more treatment options that are typically less invasive. Your dentist can also evaluate the health and wear of any dental restorations and make recommendations on how you can improve your oral health on your own between appointments.
- PROPER CARE FOR DENTAL RESTORATIONS
If you don't have all of your natural teeth, make sure you're taking great care of your dental restoration(s). Implanted crowns, bridges, and dentures should be cleaned at least twice a day. Removable dentures should be taken out at night, brushed, and then soaked overnight. It is okay to keep dentures in tap water or with a denture cleaning soak. Schedule regular visits with your dentist so they can check the fit and wear of your dental restoration.
- BRUSH AND FLOSS EVERY DAY
Hopefully, brushing and flossing every day is a good habit that you already have. Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles are worn down and use a fluoridated toothpaste. Brush your teeth, gums, and tongue gently at least twice a day. Make sure you're not brushing too aggressively or using the wrong type of toothbrush as this can cause sensitivity and erodes your enamel. Ask your dentist to demonstrate ideal techniques for brushing and flossing.
- USE MOUTHWASH
A good method to combat dry mouth and clean away germs is with mouthwash. Look for a product that is specially formulated to help dry mouth. You could also look for a moisturizing spray to carry with you and use as needed.
DENTISTRY FOR SENIORS IN Monaca, PA
Make sure you are able to live your golden years with healthy teeth, gums, and jaw. If you're 55 or older, schedule an oral health examination and cleaning at DentalWorks - Beaver Valley. Our skilled team of dental professionals will help assess the state of your teeth, gums, and jaw. We will deal with any existing conditions, check the wear and fit of any restorations, and give you advice to help your teeth, gums, and jawbone.