How to Maintain a Healthy Smile As Your Teeth Age
Thanks to improvements in dental care, members of the baby boom generation have a much better chance of keeping their natural teeth than previous generations. Even though, as you age the daily wear and tear on your teeth does take a toll, there is plenty you can do to maintain your healthy smile.
Maintain Your Daily Oral Hygiene Routine
The daily routine started in childhood – brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing – is even more essential to keeping your teeth and gums healthy. As you age, plaque tends to build up more quickly and is more likely to harden into tartar without proper oral hygiene. Moreover, it’s common for older adults to have more cavities and decay on the root surfaces of the teeth. Use an electric toothbrush which gives you more control for an effective cleaning.
Take Care of Sensitive Teeth
Tooth sensitivity increases with age as the gums naturally recede over time. The exposed areas of the tooth are particularly sensitive to cold or hot foods or beverages. Using a soft toothbrush and desensitizing tooth paste is recommended. Ask your dentist to recommend a toothpaste or in-office treatment to make you more comfortable.
Don’t Neglect Your Regular Dental Exam
Your regular dental checkup is even more important as you age. Most dentists recommend a dental cleaning at least every six months and many patients opt for an interval of 4 months between cleanings. Receding gums leave a larger area where food particles can get stuck. As more plaque forms the rate of decay can increase. The oral exam by your dentist is an important tool for diagnosing and treating any age related oral problems.
Talk to Your Dentist About Health Issues
Always be sure to let you dentist know of any existing health issues you’re facing. Diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, as well as medications you are taking can affect your oral health. Dry mouth is a common condition that may be caused by medical disorders or medications. As the neutralizing effect of saliva is reduced, your teeth are at risk of increased decay. Your dentist can recommend treatments that restore the moisture and prevent problems.
Remember, beautiful teeth are healthy teeth!
Dr. Nishan Halim
Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in adult and pediatric restorative and cosmetic dentistry, as well as preventive dentistry, which is at the heart of this Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. To find out whether changes in your teeth or gums are related to the aging process schedule an appointment at your convenience.