3 Tips for Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral care is always important, but as we start to age there are increased risks to dental health. If you neglect your teeth, you are at a serious risk for gum and tooth disease as well as losing your natural teeth. You need to make sure that you take extra precautions to keep your teeth, gums, and whole mouth healthy. Here are a few ways to step up your oral care routine.
Risks for Elderly Mouths
Tooth decay and gum disease are two of the biggest risks for older adults. Many medications that are prescribed to seniors cause dry mouth. Saliva helps to break down bacteria and neutralize acids, so having a dry mouth can lead to bacteria that will damage your teeth. If left untreated for any period, you’re at a higher risk for tooth decay and loss.
Gum disease is the other major risk for older adults. About 25% of adults 65 to 74 years old have untreated gum disease. Gingivitis and periodontal disease are serious gum diseases that can lead to severe gum inflammation and tooth loss. Both of these oral health risks can be avoided with some extra care and attention to your teeth.
1. Maintain Dentist Appointments
Schedule regular appointments with your dentist. This is the best way to prevent any tooth or gum disease. Regular cleanings and checkups are needed to remove plaque from your teeth that can contribute to periodontal disease. During these checkups, your dentist can check for any issues and make sure that your mouth is in good condition. If you can’t make it to the dentist on your own, find a family member or friend who can help you get to your appointment.
2. Take Care of Hydration
If you take medication that causes you to suffer from dry mouth, you need to take extra measures to ensure that your mouth stays hydrated. You can purchase artificial saliva products that will help you produce extra saliva. You can also chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless candy to help stimulate the production of your saliva. Make sure that you choose a sugarless variety so that you don’t put yourself at a higher risk for cavities and tooth decay. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you are drinking enough water.
3. Keep a Good at-Home Routine
It is vital that you keep up your daily oral care routine. Make sure that you brush your teeth after every meal for at least two minutes. Choose a tube of toothpaste that contains fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. Also, make sure that you floss along with brushing your teeth. Food can get stuck in between teeth or in the gums where teeth are missing, which can lead to bacteria damaging your teeth. You should also consider using mouthwash to fully clean your whole mouth.
Getting older doesn’t mean that your mouth and teeth have to suffer. While you’re at a higher risk for certain oral diseases, you can prevent and avoid these by maintaining healthy habits. Keep your regular dentist appointments and be vigilant with your oral care. These habits will keep your teeth free of disease.