A senior moment…
Date: 9 September 2015 Category: Dental health
We are all generally living longer but when we think of ageing and looking after ourselves, we don’t always think teeth. Good dental health is essential to quality of life in old age. Decaying, broken teeth and loss of teeth can affect our ability to chew properly and can lead to malnutrition, infections and a general weakening of the immune system. Dentures may be a solution for some, but for others they cause additional problems.
As with our bones, teeth become more brittle as we age. Tooth grinding and daily wear and tear may make the enamel thinner and prone to decay. Saliva is essential to a healthy mouth as it neutralizes acids, but ‘dry mouth’ caused by dehydration and as a side-effect from some medications, is also quite common in older people, contributing to tooth decay and receding gums.
So, how can we try to ensure a happier, healthier mouth in old age, both for ourselves and for those we care for?
Well, as with most things in life, prevention is better than cure. Looking after your teeth throughout your life will mean you are less likely to have problems later on. Remember, though, it’s never too late to start on the road to better dental health!
We recommend the following:
- Don’t smoke/ give up smoking. People who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque, which leads to gum disease and smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums don’t heal.
- Eat a nutritious diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Avoid snacking in between meals – especially on sweet foods and drinks
- Brush and floss well. If you brush too hard though it can cause gums to recede – try switching to an electric toothbrush.
- If you suffer from a dry mouth use artificial saliva products and oral rinses. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Chewing sugarless gum can also help. Ask your dentist for advice.
- Drink fluoridated water and use a fluoride toothpaste.
- If you do wear dentures, remove after each meal and rinse in warm water. If you are having problems with your dentures, pay a visit to the dentist. They may be able to adjust them or you may wish to discuss the option of dental implants.
- Get regular dental check ups and a regular scale and polish.
At Centre for Dentistry, our dentists will never judge you. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t visited the dentist in years, we will always do our best to get you on the road to good dental health and a happy, pain-free mouth whatever your age!