When the idea of aging comes up, it’s common to focus on things like wrinkles and waistlines. However, the body goes through many more changes than that, especially in the mouth. In fact, the risks for several oral health issues increase with age, including tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancers. This occurs because of several age-related factors, such as:
But those increased risks don’t mean you should resign yourself to losing your lustrous smile. Instead, you can take proactive measures to protect your oral health.
Daniel Park, DDS, helps people of all ages reach and maintain optimal oral health at Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental in Beaumont, California. And as part of his focus on comprehensive care, he provides the information patients need to keep their oral health on track. In this blog, Dr. Park explains five things you can do to protect your teeth for the years to come.
First and foremost, practicing good oral health habits on a daily basis is crucial at every age. However, it’s vital as you start growing older, and that means brushing and flossing.
Taking two minutes twice daily to brush and a few minutes to floss is the first line of defense against plaque and tartar buildup. If you have trouble adequately caring for your teeth and gums, Dr. Park can make personalized recommendations to help you.
For example, if you have problems holding a toothbrush, he might suggest taping it to a styrofoam ball. Or, if you hate to floss, he might suggest using a water flosser.
And, if you have dentures or other oral devices, you need to make sure to clean them every day, too.
When it comes to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, one of the best things you can do is eat well. When it comes to things to avoid, items high in sugar and carbohydrates should be on that list.
Sweet and starchy items are incredibly dangerous for your teeth at any age for two major reasons. First, sugar makes acid, which is a substance that erodes teeth. Second, starchy foods can stick to your teeth and cause plaque to form and build up.
Instead, focus on a healthy, well-balanced diet. You can even amp up your immune system at the same time by adding foods like leafy greens, garlic, and coconut oil.
While it can be hard to quit smoking, your whole body will thank you for it, your mouth included.
Most people know smoking can damage the lungs. However, it can also accelerate damage to delicate oral tissues and teeth, because it can reduce oxygen in the blood and weaken the immune system.
Furthermore, smoking can increase your risk for gum disease and other oral health problems, including cancer.
Did you know your saliva has an important job? It contains immune cells and minerals that protect your teeth from infections and cavities. Unfortunately, it’s common for people to have increasingly dry mouths as they grow older.
Fortunately, drinking plenty of water can help reduce your risk for decay and infection. But if you notice dry mouth becoming an issue, ask Dr. Park for additional recommendations.
Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of regular dental visits — even if you’ve never had a cavity. These appointments give Dr. Park the opportunity to look for early signs of a problem, so he can take action immediately.
Remember, your chances of developing dental issues increases with age. Because of this, Dr. Park could suggest more frequent visits if you smoke or have medical conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes.
To get great dental care and to learn more about how you can best take care of your teeth and gums, call 951-845-2661 to book an appointment with Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental today.