When it comes to dental care as you age, our Bonita Springs, Fl dental office has some great tips for you. Most of us have resigned to the fact that as we get older, we will have to buy dentures, deal with tooth loss, and have darkened teeth due to years of coffee and tea consumption. However, this common misconception does not have to be your reality, as having a mouth of natural pearly whites as a senior is quite realistic due to advances in modern dentistry. According to the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida (aaaswfl.org), they received over 73,000 calls from seniors in 2018.(For your information, the Elder Hotline is staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays (excluding state holidays). Assistance is available in more than 200 languages at 866-413-5337 (41-ELDER)). These calls ranged from questions regarding health insurance to how to maintain proper hygiene. This tells us that quality healthcare and trusted providers are a concern for us as we get older. In order to avoid common age-related oral hygiene issues like tooth decay, gum disease, and dry mouth, we have compiled a list of tooth and gum care tips for seniors.
- Stop Acid Erosion
When you consume food that is sugary or starchy in nature, you are consuming food that is made up of carbohydrates. When carbohydrates are broken down (fermented) by the bacteria in your mouth, it produces acid as a byproduct. This acid damages the enamel on your teeth by creating pits, which is how tooth decay forms. In order to stop acid erosion, cut down on the amount of sugary foods you eat and drink, keep the levels of acid that hit your mouth to a minimum, and if you must chew gum, make sure that it is sugarless.
- Reduce How Much Wear and Tear Your Teeth Are Exposed Too
Many people believe that as you age, your teeth become more brittle. This is not the case, however, you do risk cracking or chipping your teeth if you bite down wrong on a hard object like popcorn kernels. If you have any root canals or fillings, these teeth are the most vulnerable to cracking. Beyond this, if you clench or grind your teeth, you wear down the surface of them which makes them susceptible to decay. Make sure to wear a mouthguard, which our Bonita Springs Dental office can provide, at night, and reduce your exposure to hard food objects. If you do have cracked teeth or need an extraction, you might want to consider dental implants. These permanent structures can provide you with the comfort and functionality similar to real teeth, plus we offer complimentary consultations if you are interested.
- Engage In Stain Prevention Measures
Stains tend to form when you have a build-up of plaque on your teeth and consume dark colored beverages, chew tobacco or smoke cigarettes. To prevent stains, consider avoiding dark beverages completely. If you must have coffee or tea, then rinse your mouth out with water during the consumption of these beverages. Other than this, brush your teeth regularly to avoid plaque build up and have tartar removed by a dental hygienist every six months. A great option to getting rid of stains is to come in and get professional whitening done. This is quick and easy, as well as painless. Professional whitening can get rid of years of stains and coffee drinking, bringing back a youthful and bright smile!
- Prevent Dry Mouth
One of the downsides of getting older is the increase in medication you may have to take. Unfortunately, some of the side effects of these medications is dry mouth, where essentially, you lack the ability to produce enough saliva to coat your mouth and teeth properly. Without enough saliva, your teeth become susceptible to gum problems and tooth decay. Your first step with this should be to talk to your doctor immediately to see if you can get your prescription changed. In the meantime, chew gum, drink lots of water, and use oral mouthwashes.
- How to Avoid Gum Problems
As we age, our gum lines become susceptible to bacteria pockets which, when left untreated, can cause inflammation that damages your jaw bone and connective tissues. This is often what leads to teeth loss. To avoid this, brush and floss daily to remove bacteria, use antibacterial mouthwash, and eat foods that reduce inflammation like fish and flaxseed. If periodontal disease (gum diseases) does develop, you might need to seek treatment. It is best to see your dentist regularly so that you can catch this disease at an earlier stage rather that later.
Other than the above tips, make sure that you maintain a daily regimen of brushing and flossing, eat a balanced diet filled with lots of fruits, vegetables, and fibre-rich foods, and make sure to visit the dentist on a regular basis throughout the year. Finally, if you are especially susceptible to tooth decay, make sure to rinse with a fluoridated mouth rinse, as this will decrease cavity sensitivity and if possible, use an electric or battery powered toothbrush.
At Bonita Beach Dental located in Bonita Springs, we pride ourselves in our ability to serve patients as they age. As we get older sometimes our desires change. That tooth that never bothered you, all of a sudden does. The dentures, that you thought were a great option, all of a sudden don’t seem as good since you found out about dental implants. Or the teeth that were once much whiter, have become stained and you want teeth whitening. If this is you, or if you have any questions, give us a call today or schedule a visit to our office. We would love to make you smile 🙂