If you are over sixty years old and wondering if continued smile care is important, you are correct! As you get older you are actually more at risk for cavities. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but a common factor at this age is dry mouth caused by taking prescription medications. This side effect from certain medications can make you more prone to cavities because healthy saliva flow is vital for a healthy oral environment.
The most important thing you can do to protect your oral health is to clean your teeth every single day You can rest assured that ADA-approved products have been proven to be both safe and effective, and any advertising on the packaging has been borne out. For more detailed information on how to protect your smile as you age, continue reading!
1-Brush: Using a fluoride toothpaste to keep your tooth enamel strong, brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush. This will also protect tooth enamel from wearing down faster, as well as protect your gum health. Be sure that your toothbrush fits comfortably in the mouth so it can reach all tooth surfaces. When the bristles become worn, get a new toothbrush (or toothbrush head, if you are using an electric toothbrush).
2-Floss: Along with daily brushing, flossing between teeth and along the gumline protect your smile as flossing removes plaque and food particles your toothbrush can’t reach. Any kind of flossing tool works, so choose one that works most effectively for you: dental floss, dental picks, oral irrigators, etc. are all good choices.
3-Dentures: Wearing dentures means you’ll need to clean them every single day just as you do your teeth. It doesn’t matter whether you have partial or full dentures, to ensure a healthy oral environment be sure to clean them using cleaners designed for denture care. And finally, remove your dentures daily for the time period recommended by our dentist.
4-Checkups: Routine checkups are a must for continued oral health. At least one exam and cleaning is recommended per year, and preferably two. If you have gum disease or are cavity prone, more frequent visits may be advised. Why are regular checkups so vital? As you grow older, the nerves inside the tooth pulp become smaller and less sensitive. This means that you might not feel pain warning you about decay. During your checkup we will also check for signs of gum disease and oral cancer, which often go undetected because they don’t always cause pain until later stages.
You can help make your checkups more effective by letting us know of any medications you are currently taking. This will also include over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and if you are using herbal remedies, please let us know. It will also help us to know of any allergies you have, or any medical conditions you are being treated for. And finally, if you have dentures, please bring them in for your exam.
Dr. Lynn Leyde and our Professional Dental Care team in Shoreline, Washington 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 206-546-8377 today!