Healthy dental habits for those over 60 years old are crucial to maintaining a healthy smile. In fact, as you get older you are actually more at risk for cavities! If you are currently taking prescription medications whose side effect of causing dry mouth, you are at increased risk for cavities. Healthy saliva flow is vital for a healthy oral environment. Lower saliva production means your teeth are more susceptible to tooth decay. Your first line of defense is cleaning those pearly whites and using ADA-approved products. ADA products have been proven to be both safe and effective, so you can trust that they work as advertised. Let’s take a look at some healthy habits for those over 60.
Brushing those pearly whites is as valuable now as ever before. Using a fluoride toothpaste will help your tooth enamel remain strong. To protect tooth enamel from wear, as well as protect your gum health, stick to brushing with a soft bristled toothbrush. Make sure that your toothbrush fits comfortably in the mouth, so it can reach all tooth surfaces. If your bristles become worn, get a new toothbrush, or toothbrush head, if you are using an electric toothbrush.
Along with brushing your teeth, flossing between them and the gumline to remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth is crucial. You can use whichever flossing tool that works best for you: dental floss, dental picks, oral irrigators, etc.
Are you wearing dentures? You’ll want to clean them every day just as you do your natural teeth. Whether you wear partial or full dentures, they will need to be cleaned to ensure a healthy oral environment. Only use cleaners designed for denture care, and remove your dentures daily for the designated amount each day recommended by our dentist.
You will want to maintain routine dental exams every year, more frequently if you have ongoing dental issues, such as gum disease, or are cavity prone. Did you know that as you grow older, the nerves inside the tooth pulp become smaller and less sensitive? This means you might not feel pain from tooth decay, and your tooth may suffer and require extraction. Maintaining regular checkups will make sure your teeth are in tip-top condition. During your checkup, we will check for signs of gum disease and oral cancer, which often go undetected because they don’t always cause pain until later stages.
During your checkup, please make sure our dentist is aware of any medications you are currently taking. This will also include over the counter medications, vitamins, and if you are using herbal remedies, include those on the list. It will also help us to know of any allergies you have or any medical conditions you have or are being treated for. And finally, if you have dentures, please bring them in as well. Dr. Kenneth Lewis and our team in Fayetteville, North Carolina are excited to help you maintain your healthy, confident smile for a lifetime. If you have any questions, concerns, or need to schedule a visit, please call us at 910.488.0518 today!