Life changes with age and the longer healthy teeth and gums are maintained, the better. The best approach to maintaining healthy teeth and gums is to regularly attend dental cleanings and checkups. In between visits with the dentist, brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and using a fluoride rinse will help keep teeth and gums in better condition for easier dental checkups and cleaning appointments. Depending on other factors, more diligent efforts may be needed to optimize teeth and gum health.
During the retirement years, for most Americans this is over age 65, there are increased risk factors that can affect teeth and gums. Older adults are more likely to take regular medication, and some prescription medicines can cause discoloration in teeth, change the consistency or quality of saliva, or contribute to dry mouth as a side effect. Dry mouth can result in an increase in oral bacteria, which can create gum disease and similar problems as well as affect teeth.
Saliva is essential for rinsing bacteria and food debris from the mouth. When taking prescription medicine, be sure to inform the dentist of the complete list of medications taken and also consult the pharmacy information that accompanies prescriptions to learn of the side effects and take appropriate countermeasures. Staying hydrated, avoiding excess salt or sodium intake, and using a dental rinse for dry mouth can all help reduce problems associated with medications.
Regular dentist checkups will help with oral cancer screening, and watch for early signs of many dental problems. When caught early, treatment prognosis is much more positive, meaning the likelihood of reducing damage, and protecting teeth and gums, is greater. Mindful eating, with a diet rich in beneficial whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, will help keep the body healthier and thereby reduce risk of diet-related conditions. Eliminating tobacco use and reducing or eliminate alcohol consumption also contribute to better overall health. Contact our caring dental team today and learn more about ways to maintain healthy teeth and gums throughout all stages of life!