Although our teeth stay with us for life, the conditions in our mouths change as we get older. Maintaining your oral health is important at any age, and as you reach age 55, there are some slight changes you can make to your oral hygiene regimen to keep your mouth healthy. This is especially true if you have had dental restorations or if you have health conditions that are common as you get older. Dr. Tom Trinkner is a dentist in Columbia, SC who can help you manage your oral health over 55.
Fluoride Is Still Important
While everyone knows that products infused with fluoride are recommended to children in order to help build strong, healthy teeth and ward off decay, it can still help you even if you’re in your 50’s. Research has shown that older individuals have an increased risk for cavities, making the addition of products with fluoride to your daily routine a good idea.
Many toothpastes and mouthwash brands add fluoride to their products to help their consumers protect their teeth. As always, brushing at least twice daily and flossing every day are still recommended for older adults. Drinking fluoridated tap water is also recommended to help you protect your tooth enamel against decay as you age. Some dentists offer in-office fluoride treatments if you have found yourself especially prone to cavities lately.
Watch Out for Dry Mouth
Although getting older doesn’t mean you are more likely to have dry mouth, certain aspects of aging, such as taking more medications for chronic conditions, can increase your risk for dry mouth. Saliva production is important as it naturally washes away food particles and the bacteria that feed on them. This prevents tooth decay and cavities. Dry mouth can also negatively affect the fit of your dentures, causing chafing between your gums and your dentures.
If you suffer from dry mouth, there are a few changes to your lifestyle you can make to reduce your symptoms. Moisturizing mouthwash or sprays are available to help with this condition, and chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production. Artificial saliva, which closely mimics real saliva, is also available.
If you find these tips do not help the condition, you can also consult your doctor or dentist. If your dry mouth is caused by medication, adjusting your dose or trying a different medicine can help alleviate certain symptoms.
Caring for Your Dentures
According to dental experts, more than 170 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth, and losing teeth becomes more common as you get older. Even if you have dentures, it’s still important to take care of those dentures just as you would your natural teeth. Using a toothpaste that is specially made for cleaning dentures, and making sure you clean your dentures on a daily basis are both important for their upkeep.
Brushing your gums and tongue with a soft toothbrush is also recommended to remove any bacteria and food particles from your mouth. If you have partial dentures, be sure to floss between the implants that hold them before you put the dentures back in. Dr. Trinkner or your area dentist can give you a list of specific instructions on caring for your dentures to make sure they last you as long as possible.
Don’t Forget about Gum Disease
Whether or not you have all of your real teeth, gum disease remains a serious issue among older adults. However, while it is common, gum disease isn’t an inevitable part of getting older. Maintaining good dental hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly can help you prevent it, identify it and treat it quickly.
Dental Care for Seniors in Columbia, SC
A healthy smile is beautiful at any age. Keeping up with good hygiene habits, visiting your dentist for routine check-ups and making changes to your routine as your body needs them will help you keep your smile healthy for years to come. No matter your age, if you’re in the Columbia area and need routine or cosmetic dental care, call 803.400.8729 or request your dental appointment online today.