Maintaining a healthy smile and all of your teeth throughout life is not only possible, but it should also be your goal. Modern dentistry and routine teeth care can eliminate the need for dentures and prosthetics as we age.
Good habits and routine care
Over time, eating, grinding our teeth, and the acids in foods wear away the outer tooth enamel and biting edges of teeth. Good habits and routine care can reduce these effects of aging and help prevent tooth loss.
It’s best to begin as a child, but you are never old to start a healthy, daily teeth care routine that includes:
- Brushing twice a day
Consistent daily care reduces the decay-causing bacteria and food residues in the mouth that feed them. The result is fewer dental problems and teeth that will last.
Regular dental exams
Nerves in the roots of teeth lose sensitivity with age. Regular exams can find problems you might not notice because of reduced nerve sensitivity.
A dental exam and cleaning will also find and remove plaque that your daily routine misses, protecting gum and tooth health. Your dentist can also recommend the toothbrush and mouthwash that is best for your mouth and gums.
Periodontal disease is the single greatest cause of tooth loss. Signs of gum disease include:
- Bleeding gums
- Pockets or gaps between the gums and teeth
- Low gums that expose a larger than normal amount of tooth.
Gum disease is treatable, but ignoring it can lead to tooth loss. See your dentist at the first sign of gum disease.
Reduced saliva, or dry mouth, can make eating and swallowing difficult and lead to gum infections and disease. Aging and the medications that seniors often take can cause dry mouth. Increasing water intake and using sugarless gums or candy recommended by your dentist can help.
Overall physical health affects teeth. Maintaining a nutritious diet and getting exercise as we age is as important to tooth health as to the rest of the body.
Keep your mouth young. With a lifelong dental care plan, there is no reason that you can’t keep your teeth into old age and your smile bright and healthy for life.