As you age, working with a Dentist becomes increasingly important. Aging impacts virtually all areas of health, and while most people are concerned with things like heart and mental health, teeth can deteriorate with age as well, making a preventative care plan critical to ensuring good health.
We recommend that patients visit our office at least twice a year for a routine teeth cleaning and dental examination. This is a good best practice to implement throughout your life and the life of your children, yet as you age it becomes more critical to your overall health. These routine dental exams allow us to examine your teeth and gums to determine if they are in pristine health or need to receive treatment for a cavity, infection or gum disease. By identifying any of these conditions early, we can develop a treatment plan that addresses them quickly and comfortably. As with all medical conditions, early detection and treatment are key to ongoing good health.
In addition to regular dental exams, we recommend that you take certain steps to improve the overall health of your mouth, including:
- Drink more water. As a dentist, we find that many of our patients don’t drink nearly enough water. This can lead to dehydration which is bad for the health of the entire body. Additionally, it can create challenges in other ways by increasing the risk of dry mouth. As people age, the chances of developing this condition only increases, and dry mouth can lead to bad breath. It is also a risk factor for cavities since it means that the body isn’t producing enough saliva to naturally wash away bacteria and plaque.
- Eat a healthy diet. Good oral hygiene starts with what you eat. While you can brush away plaque, you can prevent it from occurring in the first place by improving your diet. We suggest that patients cut out the sweets from their diets so that things like soda, candy, cake, pie and sugary drinks are reserved for special occasions only. Simultaneously, it is important to eat plenty of healthy foods including green leafy veggies, crunchy vegetables, dairy products, and complex carbs. This will provide sustained energy while also helping to remineralize and strengthen your teeth.
- Brush better. Buy an electronic toothbrush and start using it. The brush is completely worth it because by moving in a constant circular pattern more bacteria and plaque are displaced to be removed from the mouth. Be sure to brush for around two minutes at a time and do so gently to avoid irritating the gums. This is particularly important as you age since the risk of gum disease and gum recession is increased, and aggressive brushing can inflame the gum tissue.
- Get the proper fit. If you are wearing dentures, make sure that they fit you properly. An ill-fitting pair of dentures can slip out of place and irritate your gum tissue.
To create your own preventative care plan with a dentist, call and schedule an appointment.