How to Keep Teeth Healthy for Seniors
Wondering how to keep teeth healthy? Not looking forward to the day when you need dentures? There are things you can do to keep your teeth stronger longer.
Let’s cover some unique changes in dental health that you may be experiencing and how to combat them.
A dry mouth is often caused by medication but can just be a result of aging. Saliva plays an important role in protecting your teeth from decay, so if you have a dry mouth, these tips can help protect your teeth.
- Drink lots of water. When you take a sip of water, swish it a bit before you swallow. Let it sit around your teeth. Note: Don’t do this with anything but water. Fruit juice, soda, and other liquids will have the opposite effect.
- Brushing and flossing more often will also give your teeth some added protection.
Perhaps your hands are not as steady or strong as they used to be. Because of this, it may be tempting to give up on flossing. Flossing can make a huge difference in how long you get to keep your teeth. One of these tools could be your solution:
- One-handed flossers are easily placed and pushed between teeth with only a bit of pressure.
- Proxy Brushes come in a variety of sizes. Use the point and bristles to clean out food and bacteria from between your teeth
- Powerfloss shoots water between your teeth, making flossing as easy as pressing a button! (Available from Walmart, Amazon, and various other vendors.)
As you grow older, your gums will often begin to recede and reveal the roots of your teeth. Your roots are not protected by enamel and cavities can develop very quickly. This can be extremely painful because nerve endings in your roots make them very sensitive. Here are some tips for extra protection.
- Get regular fluoride varnish treatments. These treatments strengthen your teeth and can protect them against malicious bacteria for up to 12 weeks. (This doesn’t mean that you get to stop brushing and flossing!)
- Limit your sweets. The less time sugar spends in your mouth, the less likely your teeth are to decay. If you enjoy sweets, brush soon afterwards. Remember that gum recession makes your teeth hyper-sensitive. If you want to keep your teeth, you’ve got to be very diligent.
Any and All Other Health Challenges
There is one tip we haven’t mentioned yet that will help you keep your teeth longest. The tip:
See your dentist more frequently.
Your dentist can customize advice for your teeth. See him often, especially if you are experiencing one of the above. It is better to see him every 3 months for a cleaning than next year for a set of dentures. Remember: Prevention is less painful, more effective, and cheaper than treatment!