Good dental hygiene and oral care are important at any age, but as we age, we might notice changes in our oral health that pose new challenges. Your dentist will be able to fully support you with these, but it is good to know what to look out for.
What might change as we get older?
As with any other area of our bodies, as we get older, we might develop conditions that were not present when we were younger. We’ll address some of these conditions now.
1. Dry Mouth
Getting older in itself doesn’t necessarily make you more prone to dry mouth, however some of the other factors that come with ageing can.
Taking some regular medications, having a chronic health condition or having existing cavities or decay can increase your risk for developing dry mouth.
If you feel you may be suffering from this, speak to your dentist who can recommend some products to help.
2. Wear and tear
As the enamel on the teeth inevitably starts to wear down through many years of chewing food, ageing teeth can have a greater risk of developing cavities.
This ranges from oral cancer and less serious illnesses, such as oral thrush.
4. Gum disease
Plaque forming on teeth, resulting in gum disease is one of the major causes of tooth loss in adults. See your dentist if you suspect you have gum disease because the sooner you treat it the better.
5. Sensitive Teeth
You may notice that your teeth become more sensitive as you get older. This can be due to your gums naturally receding and whereby exposing areas of the tooth that are not protected by enamel.
Initially, you could try toothpaste for sensitive teeth but if the problem persists, speak to your dentist.
How to look after your teeth as you get older
The good news is that many of these dental problems above are easily identified, solved, or even prevented when you know what to look for.
Keeping your ageing teeth and gums in tip-top shape requires a few common-sense practices:
- Maintain regular dental visits: Even if you have dentures it is important to get your teeth and gums checked regularly.
- Brush and floss daily
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash
- Avoid tobacco: Tobacco in any form has been linked to an increased risk of mouth and throat cancer, not to mention heart disease and other serious conditions.
- Monitor your sugar intake make healthy choices to limit your sweets and fizzy drink consumption. It is also a good idea to brush shortly after snacking if you can.
- Calcium intake. Ensure you have low-fat dairy products in your diet to prevent osteoporosis, which can also affect the bone surrounding your teeth.
Does your arthritis make brushing or flossing difficult?
If arthritis or any other mobility issue can make brushing or flossing difficult or uncomfortable, speak to your dentist about dental aids that make brushing easier.