Maintaining your oral health is important at all ages, but it changes as we get older. As your body changes with age, so does your mouth, and there are some adjustments to make to your oral health routine. Whether you have all of your original teeth, have had dental work done over the years, or have dentures, it’s still important to take proper care of your mouth to prevent disease.
Dr. Don Alexander is a Jacksonville, FL dentist helping patients keep up with their oral health as they age. Learn what you can do to keep your smile healthy over 55.
Watch Out for Dry Mouth
Getting older itself does not make you more likely to experience dry mouth, but some medications can increase your chances. Taking medications for chronic conditions related to your age may reduce saliva production, leading to higher bacteria counts in the mouth. Saliva production is important because it naturally removes food particles and the bacteria that feed on it. Dry mouth can also impact the fit of your dentures, causing chafing and discomfort on the gums.
Moisturizing mouthwash or sprays can help with dry mouth symptoms, and chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production. Artificial saliva mimics real saliva and can help dry mouth symptoms as well. If these tips don’t help your condition, you can consult with your dentist or doctor. If dry mouth is caused by a medical condition or medication, adjusting your wellness plan can alleviate symptoms or identify the root cause.
Fluoride Is Still Important
Research has shown that older people have a higher risk of getting cavities, which means people over 55 need to make sure they continue to use products with fluoride in their daily routines. Fluoride helps build and maintain strong, healthy teeth and ward off tooth decay.
Most toothpaste and mouthwash available on the market have fluoride added to them already, so look for it on the label when you’re looking to replenish your supply. Tap water in most cities has fluoride added to it, but if you are on well water, it’s even more important to make sure you’re getting fluoride in your oral health products. Some dentists offer fluoride treatments if you have been prone to cavities.
Caring for Your Dentures
Losing teeth becomes more common as you get older. Even with dentures, it’s important to take care of them just like your natural teeth. Using a toothpaste made for cleaning dentures and cleaning them on a daily basis will keep them intact and protect your health.
Brushing your gums with a soft toothbrush is a good idea to remove food particles and oral bacteria from the mouth. Patients with partial dentures need to make sure they floss between the supporting structures before putting them back in. Dentures are a great choice for restoring functionality, but they also need to have special care to ensure your mouth stays healthy.
Prevent Gum Disease
Even with dentures or missing teeth, gum disease is still an issue among older adults. Getting older does not automatically mean you will get gum disease, but maintaining good oral hygiene will help you prevent it as your health and mouth changes.
Dental Care for Seniors in Jacksonville, FL
A healthy smile is beautiful at any age. Keeping up with good hygiene habits, visiting your dentist for routine check-ups and making changes to your routine as your body needs them will help you keep your smile healthy for years to come. No matter your age, if you’re in the Jacksonville area and need routine or cosmetic dental care, call 904.372.8157 or schedule online to see our team.