Many people assume that no matter what they do, their teeth and gums will deteriorate as they grow older. But that isn’t necessarily true! As with the rest of your body, you can take steps to protect your dental health and age gracefully.
Daily care is important. Continue to brush and floss at least twice daily. Cleaning your teeth after each meal would be even better. Try an electric toothbrush, as it is likely to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums better than a traditional toothbrush.
Be gentle. Cleaning should be thorough, but that doesn’t mean rough! Use a soft bristled toothbrush, and floss gently to avoid damaging your gums.
Use mouthwash once per day. But avoid formulas that contain alcohol, as they can excessively dry your mouth.
Stop smoking. Smoking can contribute to tooth decay, receding gums, gum disease, and oral cancer. It’s never too late to quit, and you can still reap some health benefits by doing so.
Report side effects from medications. Some side effects of common medications can be damaging to your dental health. For example, dry mouth can cause plaque to stick to your teeth more easily. Remember to talk to your doctor if you experience side effects from any medication, no matter how minor they might seem.
Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated can prevent dry mouth, and protect your teeth and gums in numerous ways.
Avoid sugary drinks. Sugar increases acidity in your mouth, destroys tooth enamel, and can lead to cavities.
Chew (sugarless gum) after meals. Chewing gum helps your mouth to produce more saliva, which combats plaque buildup on teeth.
Clean your dentures every day. Even if you’ve replaced your natural teeth with dentures, you could still experience gum disease. Cleaning your dentures daily can ward off infections.
Visit your dentist regularly. Attend twice-annual appointments for cleaning and a checkup. Most serious problems can be prevented, or at least more easily treated, when caught early.