You’ll notice a lot of changes in your body as you grow older, and your mouth is no exception. The wear and tear of everyday chewing will eventually have an effect on your teeth. Fortunately, there’s plenty of ways to continue to protect your oral health even as the years go by. Here are 5 tips for looking after an aging mouth.
1. Be Gentle with Your Teeth
The enamel that protects your teeth is the strongest mineral in your body; in fact, it’s even harder than your bones. However, even enamel can eventually be worn down through everyday use, and unfortunately it doesn’t contain living cells that can heal – once it’s gone, it’s gone.
You can protect your remaining enamel by being conscious of what you bite down on. Avoid ice and other hard foods that can cause chips and broken teeth. You should also avoid opening containers with your mouth.
2. Don’t Let Your Mouth Get Too Dry
Saliva is important for preventing tooth decay. As you get older, you may take more medications that can affect saliva production and cause dry mouth, making cavities more likely. Keep your mouth moist by drinking more water and holding it in your mouth for a few seconds. You can also try sucking on sugarless candy or chewing sugarless gum to increase saliva levels.
3. Pay Attention to Your Gums
Gum disease is a common cause of tooth loss. While it can often be treated more easily in its early stages, it can sometimes go undetected for quite a while. Be on the lookout for early signs of gum disease, including bleeding, gum recession, loose teeth, and bad breath; if you notice any concerning symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist. Of course, regular brushing and flossing are a great way to help prevent gum disease from occurring in the first place.
4. Watch What You Eat
Sugary foods and drinks cause bacteria in your mouth to produce acid; moreover, citrus fruits, sodas, and other things you eat and drink can be acidic as well. These substances can erode your remaining enamel. Luckily, you can mitigate the effects of sugary or acidic foods by eating them during your main meals, when saliva production will be at its highest; following up an acidic snack with milk or cheese can also be helpful.
5. Get Regular Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer in the world, and older patients tend to be at a higher risk. You can get an oral cancer screening at your regular checkups; you should also be on the lookout for red or white patches in the mouth that last longer than a week.
By seeing your dentist regularly and adopting good oral care habits, you can continue to protect your teeth even in your later years.
About the Practice
At Bethel Dental, dentists help patients of all ages protect their oral health and well-being. They combine state-of-the-art tools with a comfortable environment to provide the best quality care. In addition to checking for tooth decay and gum disease, a regular checkup also includes an oral cancer screening. Contact their office today to schedule an appointment.